The Business Times

STI gains 0.52%, buoyed by upbeat data, big US spending plan

Anita Gabriel
Published Thu, Apr 1, 2021 · 05:53 PM

THE Singapore bourse wrapped a holiday-shortened week and stepped into the second quarter on a high note, buoyed by upbeat data and Washington's massive infrastructure spending plan that lent further hope of a global pandemic recovery.

The key Straits Times Index advanced 16.34 points or 0.52 per cent to 3,181.68.

Across Asia, key gauges posted solid gains from Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Taiwan to Malaysia and Australia. A string of positive data helped brighten the mood including a closely-watched quarterly survey in Japan that signalled better-than-expected business conditions. South Korea reported higher March export growth while house prices rose in New Zealand and Australia's manufacturing activity expanded.

"We remain positive on equity markets. Global economic momentum is picking up and we see signs of reflation everywhere, notably in commodity and housing prices," said Phillip Capital analyst Paul Chew. "Global PMI is above pre-pandemic level, container imports into the US surged 32 per cent in the first two months of this year and several commodities are at around decade-highs."

While expectations that the US Federal Reserve could hike interest rates sooner than expected have caused some nervousness, the research analyst said the house remained more sanguine. "Rising interest rates historically coincided with major rallies in equity markets. The real equity bears are recessions," Mr Chew reminded in a note.

Even with the general optimism, caution prevailed as a third wave of the pandemic roils Europe, forcing countries to renew lockdown restrictions. Analysts warned if Europe loses control of the pandemic - again - it could darken the economic outlook and spoil the general mood in markets.


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Turnover on the local bourse came in at 2.35 billion units worth S$1.25 billion. Gains were led by the Jardine stocks, City Developments and DBS.

Thai Beverage Public Co added 1.5 Singapore cents or 2.03 per cent to 75.5 Singapore cents. Maybank Kim Eng has initiated coverage on the stock with a "buy" on optimism that its portfolio of top brands was well-poised to capture post-Covid-19 recovery amid easing restrictions of on-premise consumption and cheap valuations. The house has a 12-month price target of 95 Singapore cents on the stock.

ComfortDelGro rose four Singapore cents or 2.34 per cent to S$1.75. The transport operator said on Wednesday that it has partnered French energy company Engie to bid for electric vehicle charging tenders in Singapore and to explore clean energy solutions.

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