by Tan Shih Ming
SINGAPORE? Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Singapore shares closed 0.89 percent higher on Friday? as strong U.S. economic data buoyed expectations of an interest rate hike in December.
U.S. stocks edged higher? led by bank stocks on higher interest rates expectation. U.S. consumer prices posted their biggest increase in six months? while housing starts surged to a nine-year high? and jobless claims fell to the lowest level since November 1973.
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen also signaled overnight that the central bank is close to raising rates as the economy continues to gain traction.
Meanwhile? strong U.S. dollar weighed on oil prices albeit hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would reach an agreement to cap production at its meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index rose 25.17 points to 2?838.65 points. Trading volume was 1.26 billion shares worth 1.09 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners slightly outnumbered advancers 194 to 193? while 518 stocks did not move.
Among top actives? Swee Hong Limited jumped 32 percent to 3.3 Singapore cents. The civil engineering company specializing in micro-tunneling work reported a first-quarter net profit of 25.3 million Singapore dollars? reversing from its loss of 1.6 million Singapore dollars a year ago a year ago. Its revenue for the quarter ended September increased to 12.5 million Singapore dollars from 5.1 million Singapore dollars a year ago.
TPV Technology jumped 12.5 percent to 27 Singapore cents. The manufacturer of televisions and monitors swung back to profitability in third quarter with earnings of 18.6 million U.S. dollars from losses of 26.3 million U.S. dollars a year ago? thanks to a more efficient operating structure and an 18 percent reduction in operating expenses. Its revenue came in at 2.47 million U.S. dollars compared to 2.8 million U.S. dollars a year ago.
Among top gainers? Jardine Matheson rose 2.7 percent to 56.97 U.S. dollars? whereas Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 1.9 percent to 39.67 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.43 Singapore dollars)
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