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SINGTEL shares surged more than 6 per cent in unusually active trade on Friday, fuelling the blue chip Straits Times Index (STI) to trade higher.
After opening at S$3.51 a share, Singtel traded higher to S$3.60, up 12 cents, or 3.45 per cent. The telco eventually closed 6.3 per cent or 22 cents higher at S$3.70. Some 47.7 million shares changed hands.
The STI closed 64.72 points or 2.53 per cent higher at 2,623.21.
Earlier on Friday, the telco said its Australian subsidiary, Optus, has bought airwaves in the 1800 MHz spectrum band for A$196 million (S$197 million), helping it expand its 4G high-speed network in the country. The 1800 MHz spectrum is said to be the the most popular globally for 4G deployment and is compatible with the majority of 4G devices currently used in Australia.
Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG, said there was no apparent reasons for the jump in Singtel share price or activity, but speculated that "it could be position ahead of next Friday's earnings release, as there will not be any trading for four days due to Chinese New Year".
Singtel is scheduled to unveil its third-quarter results on Feb 12 before the start of trading. Meanwhile, the Singapore stock market will be closed for Chinese New Year celebrations on Monday and Tuesday, and will resume trading on Wednesday.
Some analysts, however, said the latest activity in Singtel could be due to a flurry of interest in defensive plays.
"All telcos have seen a run as they are defensive," one analyst explained. He noted that in the past five days, rival telcos like StarHub and M1 have risen sharply too, at 4.4 per cent and 3.9 per cent, respectively. "Singtel could be playing catch-up," he added.