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Singapore shares finish higher with banks, penny stocks in play

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ELEVATED penny stock punting and a push on banks UOB and OCBC provided the main features of Tuesday's trading, in which the Straits Times Index rose 14.73 points to 3,071.64. Turnover amounted to a healthy 3.7 billion units worth S$1.3 billion and excluding warrants there were 252 rises versus 207 falls.

More than two-thirds of the index's rise came from gains in OCBC and UOB, with notable contributions from Keppel Corp and City Developments. There was some speculation that funds were switching out of 2016's regional outperformers Thailand and Indonesia and into the local market because of the latter's softness last year.

The average value per unit traded was S$0.35, indicating that hectic punting of low-priced issues was very much present - 18 of the 20 most actively traded stocks were priced below S$0.50, with 17 below S$0.20.

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