STI down 0.47 per cent to 2,555.59 despite ease in economic contraction

UNCERTAINTIES surrounding the coronavirus vaccine and stimulus talks in the United States weighed on regional markets, including the Straits Times Index (STI), which declined 12.06 points or 0.47 per cent to 2,555.59 on Wednesday.

The index's performance came despite the third-quarter ease in economic contraction, shown by data released on Wednesday.

Pandemic beneficiary Medtecs' stellar financial results and stalled coronavirus vaccine trials appeared to have buoyed investor sentiment in other medical suppliers. The shares of Malaysian companies Top Glove and Riverstone rose 3.02 per cent and 3.41 per cent respectively to S$3.07 and S$3.94, making them among the better performers on Wednesday.

Brokerage house CGS-CIMB reiterated a call to add Top Glove: "We continue to like Top Glove as it is the key beneficiary of higher glove demand owing to Covid-19, given its position as the world's largest glove maker."

Another medical-related company QT Vascular was the most heavily traded stock with a volume of 228.8 million shares; its price jumped 33.3 per cent to 0.8 Singapore cent by market close.

Coming in last on the STI performance table was real estate investment trust Mapletree Industrial Trust, which shed 2.7 per cent to close at S$3.25.

Decliners beat advancers 228 to 167 for the day, with 1.53 billion securities worth S$1.13 billion traded.

Asia markets were generally down after the Wall Street ended in the red on Tuesday as coronavirus vaccine trials were halted and fresh US fiscal measures appeared elusive.

The Kospi closed down 0.94 per cent at 2,380.48, marking its biggest fall since Sept 24; Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.27 per cent to 6,179.17.

The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.56 per cent to 3,340.78 points while the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index was down 0.13 per cent at 1,523.25.

Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up 0.11 per cent to 23,626.73 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.07 per cent to end at 24,667.09.

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