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Singapore shares rise 0.9% after Wednesday's sell-off

SHARE prices in the Singapore bourse rose with the key Straits Times Index gaining 32.65 points or 0.93 per cent to finish at 3,528.92 on Thursday.

The strong turnaround, after it slipped below the 3,500 mark on Wednesday, came on the back of a turnover of 1.5 billion shares worth S$1.2 billion versus the previous day's 1.4 billion shares worth S$1.3 billion.

Some 206 counters were up and 177 counters down.

Encouraging macro data with a surprise upside on first-quarter GDP figures at home and a positive showing on Wall Street overnight lifted trading sentiment, with Singapore's three banking stocks leading gains.

Singapore's GDP growth for the first quarter came in slightly higher than flash estimates (4.4 per cent versus 4.3 per cent from a year ago) as the acceleration in services offset the downward revision in manufacturing and construction.

The upward revision of the official growth forecast range for this year from 1.5-3.5 per cent to 2.5-3.5 per cent suggests 2018 growth is more likely to be at least "slightly above" the middle of the previous range, said Nomura Research.

US stocks gained overnight following the release of "dovish" minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting, cementing investors' expectations that the central bank will not quicken its pace of monetary tightening.

A rate hike at the next meeting on June 12-13 however seems like a foregone conclusion with implied probability from Fed fund futures showing a 100 per cent chance priced in by markets.

Other major Asian markets closed mixed, with key indices in Japan, China and South Korea seeing red while Hong Kong, Taiwan and Australia posted gains. Malaysian stocks didn't stand a chance and closed lower again, shaken by back-to-back news of the colossal clean-up being led by the newly installed government, chiefly involving the controversial state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

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