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Singapore shares add 0.8% following strong Wall St performance

LED by Wall Street's positive cues on a number of strong performances from US corporates, there were many reasons for confidence on Thursday as risk appetite returned to Asia's equity markets.

This saw Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) open 0.4 per cent higher, with the benchmark then pulling ahead to end the day at 3,168.87, jumping 24.59 points or 0.8 per cent.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea all registered gains.

With no updates on the US-China trade front, investors are left taking heart that their last memories of the exchanges between the two parties were constructive towards a deal, or at the very least, a truce.

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Other productive developments were also in play. In the UK, the risk of a no-deal Brexit is diminishing. Meanwhile, Turkey has agreed to a permanent ceasefire in northern Syria, resulting in US sanctions being lifted. 

In Singapore, trading volume stood at 1.31 billion securities, 9 per cent more than the daily average in the first nine months of 2019. Meanwhile, total turnover clocked in at S$1.10 billion, 2 per cent over the January-to-September daily average. Across the market, advancers trumped decliners 244 to 136. Just five of the blue-chip index's 30 counters ended in the red.

Keppel Corp continued to see considerable activity, three days after Temasek's partial offer to increase its stake in the conglomerate to 51 per cent. It advanced S$0.15 or 2.2 per cent to close at S$6.88 with 10.5 million shares changing hands.

The banking trio outperformed the STI. DBS Group Holdings closed S$0.29 or 1.2 per cent higher at S$25.08, OCBC Bank added S$0.09 or 0.9 per cent to S$10.74 while United Overseas Bank ended the day at S$26.02, up S$0.25 or 1 per cent.

Among tech stocks, UMS Holdings added 3.5 Singapore cents or 5 per cent to 74 cents after DBS Equity Research upgraded its call on the semiconductor play to "Buy", increasing its target price for the company to 87 cents. The upgrade is premised on forecasts by SEMI - a global industry association - that the semiconductor equipment market is set to jump 11.6 per cent next year, with upside likely if the macro environment improves and trade tensions subside. 

"At the company level, our channel checks show that UMS is beginning to see a pick-up in semiconductor sales, which should be reflected in its coming quarters' results," wrote DBS analyst Ling Lee Keng.