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Singapore shares advance at Thursday's open; STI up 1.3%

SINGAPORE shares opened on a firm footing on Thursday, in line with the rest of Asia, as investors pinned their hopes on a swift rebound in economies as Covid-19 lockdown measures ease.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) advanced 34.23 points or 1.3 per cent to 2,734.62 as at 9.01am.

Gainers outnumbered losers 122 to 36, after about 59.4 million securities worth S$105.6 million changed hands.

Among index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which gained S$0.03 or 2.2 per cent to S$1.39, with seven million shares traded. SPH publishes The Business Times. Meanwhile, ComfortDelGro rose S$0.03 or 1.9 per cent to S$1.64, with 4.7 million shares traded.

The trio of banking stocks were also up in early trading. DBS jumped S$0.61 or 2.8 per cent to S$22.41, UOB gained S$0.44 or 2 per cent to S$22.04, while OCBC Bank rose S$0.18 or 1.9 per cent to S$9.54.

Other active securities include SATS, which put on S$0.10 pr 3.3 per cent to S$3.14, and Singapore Airlines (SIA), which rose S$0.09 or 2.1 per cent to S$4.40.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote that SIA, along with European, North-east Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, are starting to increase their passenger capacity at Changi Airport. Singapore-China business travel will also start from June 8 with the implementation of strict curbs.

Meanwhile, Ascott Residence Trust (ART) units fell S$0.03 or 2.9 per cent to S$1.01. Last week, ART set a precedent in skipping the first call on a perpetual, with some market watchers saying the move could pave the way for other issuers to do the same.

Over in the US, Wall Street stocks surged overnight, backed by optimism over the reopening of economies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 2.1 per cent or 525 points at 26,269.89. The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.4 per cent to 3,122.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.8 per cent to 9,682.91, moving close to an all-time high.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan's Topix advanced 0.9 per cent, South Korea's Kospi climbed 1.9 per cent, and Australian stocks gained 0.7 per cent.

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