STOCKS | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Daily Markets Briefing: STI up 0.2%

Commodities led the pack.

According to KGI Fraser, it was a slow trading day in Singapore markets as cautiousness prevailed ahead of the US Fed's FOMC meeting. Volume was tepid with 1.3bn shares changing hands and an even number of shares going both ways. Rotational interest into commodities and emerging market plays saw stocks of Golden Agri, Jardine C&C and Noble lead the gainers in the STI index by between 1 and 4%. The recovery in emerging markets' currencies on the back of fewer expected rate hikes in 2016 have also largely helped stocks in emerging countries.

Here's more from KGI Fraser:

Around the region, Chinese stocks ended mixed despite Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upbeat comments to government officials. China's two main indexes diverged with the Shanghai Composite closing 0.2% higher while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index declined by 1%. The divergent may perhaps be due to the continuing uncertainty that China may not be able to meet its economic growth targets and worries of further yuan depreciation.

US markets closed slightly higher (S&P 500 +0.6%; DJIA +0.4%; Nasdaq +0.8%) as the US Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and slashed its projection to two rate hikes instead of four. Policy makers now expect that the Fed would raise rates by half a percentage point by the end of 2016. Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen cited that the global economy was growing slightly below expectations but remained positive on the US economy. Riding on the back of the decision, gold futures gained 2.5% to US$1,261 as the US dollar weakened against major and emerging market currencies. US commodities and oil & gas stocks rallied, with stock of Freeport-McMoRan Southwestern Energy and Devon Energy all gaining around 9-10%. 

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