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STI ends Tuesday almost unchanged ahead of Fed policy meeting

LOCAL market sentiment was somewhat more positive on Tuesday, after US stocks had a firm overnight close.

But investors were not throwing caution to the wind, as well-known companies like Singapore Airlines and United Overseas Bank made headlines for their efforts to cap staff costs.

The benchmark Straits Times Index ended the day just 3.28 points or 0.13 per cent higher at 2,485.83.

Among the STI components, Sembcorp Industries was the biggest gainer, rising 3.36 per cent to close at S$1.23. The company has enjoyed a steady re-rating after separating itself from its beleaguered offshore and marine arm Sembcorp Marine (Sembmarine).

Sembmarine, the most heavily traded stock of the day, finally seemed to find a floor after several days of plumbing new lows. It ended 0.62 per cent higher at S$0.163.

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Other significant gainers within the index were Genting Singapore, which rose 2.99 per cent to close at S$0.69, and Mapletree Industrial Trust, which climbed 2.22 per cent to close at S$3.22.

In the small-cap space, subsea engineering and oilfield-services company IEV Holdings jumped 29.41 per cent to close at S$0.044. The company said on Monday night that it plans to sell its main operating unit for S$200,000. This will leave IEV with its healthcare, postpartum care and wellness businesses, which were acquired only last year.

Elsewhere, metal gifts manufacturer Joyas International saw a 50 per cent jump in its low-priced shares to S$0.003. The company said last week that it plans to place out 300 million new shares at S$0.003 each.

Around the region, stock markets were generally firmer. While the benchmark indices for Tokyo and Jakarta were lower, those for Hong Kong, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok were higher.

Among the key highlights of the coming week is the US Federal Reserve policy meeting, scheduled for Wednesday. The Fed is widely expected to maintain its dovish stance.

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