SINGAPORE, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Singapore stocks started the new year on an optimistic note after a lacklustre performance in the previous year when a weak real estate sector and a penny stock scandal weighed on the market.
The Straits Times Index edged up 0.2 percent to 3,173.8 by 0517 GMT on Thursday, with 52.8 million shares traded, only 27 percent of its average 30-day full-day volume. The benchmark, which was little changed last year, traded at a one-month high.
Bank DBS Group Holdings Ltd rose 0.3 percent. Brokerage Maybank Kim Eng recommended it as its top sector pick.
"Of the three Singapore banks under our coverage, we believe DBS is best positioned to take advantage of a rising interest rate environment, given its liquid balance sheet and strong deposit franchise with cheap funds accounting for 58.4 percent of total deposits," Maybank said in a report.
Small and mid-cap stocks again dominated trading, with HanKore Environment Tech Group Ltd topping the list of most actively traded stocks after the company announced a reverse takeover on Dec. 30. The shares were up 5.6 percent after surging 35 percent on Tuesday.