Singapore stocks end 0.9% higher as investors price in rate hikes

BUILDING on the previous day's rally and overnight gains in Wall Street, Asian bourses finished higher on Friday (Sep 9) despite hawkish sentiments from the United States Federal Reserve.

In Singapore, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) also ended in positive territory, rising 0.9 per cent, or 29.34 points to 3,262.95. Gainers outnumbered losers 274 to 222, as close to 1.4 billion shares worth S$964 million changed hands.

Across the region, Japan's Nikkei 225 closed 0.5 per cent higher, and in mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8 per cent, while the Shenzhen Composite Index on China's second exchange gained 0.7 per cent.

Even Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, which has taken a beating most of this trading week, advanced 2.7 per cent.

IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong, said that Wall Street eventually ending higher after a volatile session, despite the clear hawkishness from Fed's chair Jerome Powell vows to fight inflation, suggested that much of the higher-for-longer guidance from policymakers has been priced for now.  

"While Treasury yields reacted with a slight uptick, it seems like a lukewarm reaction to the ramp-up in 75 basis point rate hike bets. The upcoming Fed blackout period will remove hawkish Fed officials' comments from the picture, which markets could attempt to tap on for some relief before the US consumer price index data release next week," said Yeap.

Among STI constituents, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the day's top performer, gaining 3.9 per cent, or S$0.035 to S$0.935 after announced on Thursday a new licence agreement that would allow it to start constructing large liquified natural gas vessels.

In the broader market, its investment arm spin-off, Yangzijiang Financial Holdings, also closed higher by 4 per cent, rising S$0.015 to S$0.395.

Sembcorp Industries was among the 2 STI constituents ending in the red on Friday, declining 1.2 per cent, or S$0.04 to S$3.36.

The other decliner was SATS, which fell 0.5 per cent, or S$0.02 to S$4.02.

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