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Singapore shares open slightly higher on Thursday; STI up 0.1% to 3,371.51

SINGAPORE shares edged higher when trading began on Thursday, with the Straits Times Index gaining 3.71 points, or 0.1 per cent to 3,371.51 as at 9.03am.

This comes after Wall Street stocks closed at record highs overnight as a slew of mixed US economic data raised expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate cut at its next meeting at the end of the month.

All three major US indices hit new highs - the Dow added 0.7 per cent to 26,961.52 by the closing bell, the S&P 500 gained 0.8 per cent to 2,995.53, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.8 per cent to 8,170.23. US markets closed early in anticipation of Thursday's Independence Day holiday and will reopen on Friday.

On the Singapore bourse, advancers edged out decliners 83 to 24, after about 90.1 million securities worth S$78.3 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded counters by volume, Addvalue Tech gained 21.7 per cent, or 0.5 Singapore cent to 2.8 cents, with 14.1 million shares traded, and SunMoonFood was up 15.7 per cent, or 0.8 cent to 5.9 cents, with 8.9 million shares traded.

Addvalue Tech on Wednesday said it had bagged a contract worth at least US$1 million from an Indonesia firm that specialises in providing satellite communication and IT solutions to the Indonesian government and its military agency.

Financials were mixed with DBS trading flat at S$26.15, OCBC gaining 0.4 per cent, or four cents to S$11.52, and UOB dipping 0.3 per cent, or eight cents to S$26.51.

Other active stocks included ComfortDelGro which was up 1.1 per cent, or three Singapore cents to S$2.73, and ST Group Food, which slipped 1.8 per cent, or 0.5 cent to S$0.275.

ST Group Food made its debut on the Catalist board of the Singapore Exchange on Wednesday, closing at S$0.28 - a 7.7 per cent, or two cents premium over its IPO (initial public offering) price of S$0.26.

Elsewhere, Asian equities saw modest gains tracking Wall Street stocks overnight. 

Japan's Topix rose 0.5 per cent as at 9.30am, Australia’s S&P/ASX 20 added 0.7 per cent, and Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.3 per cent. Hong Kong stocks were up 0.2 per cent, while China's Shanghai Composite was little changed. 

In a research note on Thursday morning, UOB economists noted that today's Asian session will likely look to recover some of the losses from yesterday, after a constructive overnight session on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Beyond the initial repricing, activity levels will probably be subdued in light of today's US holiday. Year to date, volatilities across asset classes have been grinding lower, while valuations have richened in the backdrop of slowing global growth. Thanks to monetary policy easing expectations, it has largely been a period of rewards without risks," the economists added. 

Among the commodities, oil prices fell on Thursday, pressured by data showing a smaller-than-expected decline in US crude stockpiles. Brent crude futures were down 0.4 per cent at US$63.60 by the morning trade, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures declined 0.3 per cent to US$57.18 per barrel, Reuters data show. 

Meanwhile, gold prices were steady after hitting a one-week high in the previous session. Spot gold was broadly unchanged at US$1,418.60 per ounce, while US gold futures were up 0.1 per cent at US$1,421.7 an ounce as at 9.19am.