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Singapore shares close higher with oil and shipping stocks in play

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A FIRMING oil price helped bring offshore and marine stocks into play on Wednesday as the Straits Times Index (STI) chalked up a fifth successive rise in modest volume of 1.7 billion units worth S$1.05 billion.

A marginally firm session for the Dow futures or most of the day helped keep sentiment positive, the broad market recording 251 rises versus 159 falls, excluding warrants. The STI, however, weakened in the final minutes in tandem with a reversal in the Dow futures. It closed at 2,862.38, a net gain of 14.29 points for the day.

The actives list featured the likes of Ezra, Ezion, Loyz Energy, Cosco, Vallianz, Vard and AusGroup - all companies connected to the shipping and oil industries. Among index stocks, gains in the three banks were pivotal in pushing up the STI, bringing its five-day gain to 72 points or 2.6 per cent.

In the second line, shares of Noble Group rose for the second day after the battering they suffered when the company announced a rights issue. The counter's S$0.015 rise to S$0.265 on volume of 57.6 million made it the day's fourth most active stock.

Also active was AddValue Technologies, though its shares dropped S$0.007 or 15.2 per cent to S$0.039 on volume of 45.7 million. The company on Tuesday said that a major asset sale to a China firm that was first announced in March 2014 but has met with several delays could finally be concluded within the next four months.

Stocks from Wall Street to Asia have firmed after the release of a very weak US jobs report last Friday significantly reduced the odds of an interest rate hike at next week's US Federal Open Market Committee meeting.