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Singapore shares rise 0.3%, tracking optimism in US equities

THE Straits Times Index reversed losses on Wednesday, rising 0.27 per cent or 8.96 points to finish at 3,362.43.

After lunch, it had looked like the swathe of strong US corporate earnings was not enough to stir the market here. However, the bourse recovered in its final hour of trading with 1.17 billion shares worth S$1.08 billion changing hands for the day.

Gainers outnumbered losers 204 to 168. 

But Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, suggested that the current bull market may not last for long, for potential reasons such as China reducing stimulus and the Fed changing course. "I'm not saying that markets may not go higher from current levels...However, in my opinion, this is not the most-loved bull run," he said.

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Among advancers, China Everbright Water shot up 25.64 per cent or S$0.10 to S$0.49 on a turnover of 36.2 million shares. The firm launched its public offer on the Hong Kong Exchange on Wednesday morning with about 104 million shares.

ST Engineering was another gainer, adding 3.45 per cent or S$0.13 to S$3.90. It announced on Wednesday that its US shipbuilding business, VT Halter Marine, has won a US$745.9 million contract from the US Navy for the design and construction of a heavy polar icebreaker for the US Coast Guard.

The contract includes options for the two additional ships, which - if exercised - would bring its total value to US$1.94 billion.

Elsewhere, Best World International shares slumped after activist shortseller Bonitas Research published a report questioning the company's accounting and sales. Trading was halted after the counter dropped as much as 11 per cent, prompting a query from the Singapore Exchange.

Another hot stock was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which saw Credit Suisse downgrade its recommendation to "Underperform" from "Neutral" with a target price of S$1.30. Analysts' average target price is S$1.58, according to Bloomberg data. The stock dipped 2.52 per cent or four Singapore cents to S$1.55 on a turnover of 51.4 million shares.