A LARGE push on the banks on Wednesday helped propel the Straits Times Index (STI) up 75.76 points or 2.69 per cent into the black for 2016 at 2,890.41, after China reported that exports for March increased 11.5 per cent from a year earlier in dollar terms, rebounding from a 25 per cent plunge in February.
Turnover was 1.5 billion units worth S$1.4 billion, more than twice Tuesday's S$664 million which was the lowest daily total this year. Excluding warrants, there were 276 rises versus 132 falls.
The STI is now eight points up for the year, only the second time it has been in positive territory for 2016.
Over in North Asia, the China export figures meant the Hang Seng Index rose 3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite 1.4 per cent.
Apart from banks, other big index gains came from Singapore Telecommunications, Keppel Corp, Sembcorp Industries and Sembcorp Marine.
In the land transport sector, shares of ComfortDelGro rose S$0.10 to S$2.91 on volume of 13.8 million. RHB called a "buy" on the stock with a discounted cash-flow target price of S$3.60, saying new rules on private-hire cars pose only negligible risks to the company.
"We see downside risks only for smaller taxi companies that lack a robust taxi booking infrastructure," said RHB. "We remain positive about CD's ability to deliver 30 per cent profit growth in FY16, with a low risk profile in an uncertain economic environment."