Passing of US stimulus bill lifts Asian markets; STI up 0.85%

FOLLOWING the passing of US President Joe Biden's US$1.9 trillion stimulus bill on Wednesday in Congress, upbeat investor sentiment lifted stocks across Asia as markets ended the day in the black.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 Index closed up 0.60 per cent or 175.08 points at 29,211.64, while the benchmark Kospi in South Korea gained 1.88 per cent or 55.58 points to end at 3,013.70.

Similarly, in the Chinese markets, the Hang Seng Index rose 1.65 per cent or 478.09 points to end at 29,385.61; the Shanghai Composite Index closed up 2.36 per cent or 79.09 points at 3,436.83.

On the local bourse, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) gained 0.85 per cent or 26.29 points to end at 3,106.01. On the broader market, advancers outnumbered decliners 306 to 170, with 2.41 billion securities worth S$1.85 billion changing hands.

Among the STI constituents, Thai Beverage emerged at the top of the table, gaining 3.40 per cent or S$0.025 to close at S$0.76. Coming in second was Mapletree Commercial Trust, which rose 3.02 per cent or S$0.06 to end at S$2.05.

Other Singapore real estate investment trusts (S-Reits) also made gains on Thursday. For instance, Mapletree Industrial Trust closed 1.59 per cent higher, while CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust inched up 1.44 per cent.

Similarly, Ascendas Reit and Mapletree Logistics Trust ended 1.4 per cent and 1.12 per cent higher respectively.

Geoff Howie, market strategist at the Singapore Exchange, said: "As opposed to the first two days of the week, the past two days saw the S-Reits also take hold of a bid tone on the stabilisation seen in US Treasury 10-year yields."

Meanwhile, Singtel ended up at the bottom of the index, declining 0.84 per cent or S$0.02 to close at S$2.36.

Of Thursday's markets performance, Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said: "The benign US inflation data and the US$1.9 trillion US stimulus package approved by Congress pacified markets, and an incredibly supportive risk tone has emerged as investors seem more than happy to get that inflation monkey off their back, even if it's only a temporary respite."


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