STI rises 0.48%, stays on track for best quarter in nine years

Anita Gabriel
Published Tue, Mar 30, 2021 · 05:48 PM

SINGAPORE shares rose for the sixth straight day on Tuesday, with the key Straits Times Index (STI) closing in on pulling off its best first-quarter showing in nine years.

After another record showing in Wall Street overnight and continued vaccine cheer, the STI gained 15.32 points or 0.48 per cent to 3,190.89. In the year to date, the index is up more than 12 per cent, outshining its regional peers.

Major Asian gauges in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and South Korea also logged gains, but Australia and Malaysia bucked the general trend to finish lower.

"A reasonably pedestrian day in Asia's risk markets," remarked Axi's chief market strategist Stephen Innes. However, he expects risk sentiment to struggle to break higher ground as the market focuses on the release of key US payroll data on Friday, with investors on the lookout for a little more "proof in the economic pudding" before taking the next leap of faith.

Still, he added: "For all the bumps in the first quarter, Asia remains on target ... nothing too untoward should throw it off course, but we're not so sure we'll see another running of the bulls any time soon."

Turnover on the local bourse stood at 1.94 billion units worth S$1.45 billion. DBS, Thai Beverage and OCBC led the gains. Among the STI constituents, 22 counters closed up, and seven, down.

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Sembcorp Marine was the day's most active, with 386 million shares worth S$65 million traded. The counter closed one Singapore cent higher or 6.2 per cent to 17.1 Singapore cents, partly led by news the day before that it clinched a £600 million (S$1.12 billion) UK wind farm contract together with GE Renewable Energy's Grid Solutions.

Singapore Technologies Engineering rose one Singapore cent or 0.3 per cent to S$3.90. On Tuesday morning, the company said it raised its offer for the buyout of New York-listed Cubic Corp's outstanding stock to US$78 per share from US$76 apiece, as a bidding war with private equity firms mounts over the defence and transit technology company.

Penny stock Shen Yao Holding, the day's second most-active counter, inched up 0.1 Singapore cent or 25 per cent to 0.5 Singapore cent. The gold miner, previously known as LionGold, said late on Monday that it plans to buy up to a 20.25 per cent stake in loss-making property analytics firm Real Estate Analytics (REA) for nearly S$9 million to diversify its investment portfolio.

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