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Singapore stocks advance, albeit cautiously, as hawkish Fed talks fuel Wall Street

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STOCKS in Singapore traded cautiously higher on Wednesday, after US markets hit fresh highs on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's hint of a possible rate hike next month.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was trading around 3,080.07, up 0.25 per cent, or 7.6 points at 9.10am. About 196.7 million shares worth S$116.9 million, changed hands. Some 98 gainers outpaced 64 losers.

Brokers said OCBC's disappointing fourth quarter results and the oil sector woes continued to weigh on sentiment as the market awaits releases from the other two local banks.

OCBC was trading around S$9.40 a share, down 3 Singapore cents, or 0.32 per cent. UOB was at S$20.66, down 8 Singapore cents, or 0.39 per cent. DBS bucked the trend and was trading around S$18.27, up 1 cent, or 0.06 per cent.

DBS is scheduled to report its earnings on Feb 16, followed by UOB the following day.

Overnight, all three major US indices set records for the fourth straight session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.5 per cent to end the day at 20,504.41.

Ms Yellen confirmed the next rate increase could come at any time, which leaves open the possibility of a move at the March 14-15 policy meeting.

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