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Singapore shares close 0.2% higher on Thursday

THE rally witnessed by markets in Asia started to dissipate on Thursday but the Singapore market still managed to close higher despite a lack of catalysts.

The Straits Times Index (STI) gained 4.94 points or 0.15 per cent to close at 3,316.21.

Trading clocked in at 1.38 billion securities, in line with the daily average over the first two months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.35 billion, 32 per cent over the January-to-February daily average. Advancers outnumbered decliners 197 to 172.

Ten of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the red. Among them, Genting Singapore was the Singapore bourse's most traded with 239.3 million shares changing hands. Its shares slumped 10 Singapore cents or 9.3 per cent to close at S$0.97.

The casino operator faced a heavy sell-off as investors weighed the impact of a 50 per cent increase in casino entry levies for Singaporeans and permanent residents that kicked in on Thursday, higher casino tax rates that will take effect from March 2022, and capital expenditure required for the S$4.5 billion reinvestment plan for Resorts World Sentosa.

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Genting Singapore also saw the most value of trade done, with S$236.25 million traded or 17.5 per cent of the bourse's value of securities for the day.

Financials fared well, giving a lift to the benchmark index. Of the trio, United Overseas Bank stood out, closing S$0.31 or 1.2 per cent higher at S$26.41. DBS Group Holdings added S$0.12 or 0.5 per cent to close at S$26.85 while OCBC Bank closed eight Singapore cents or 0.7 per cent higher at S$11.63.

Among non-STI counters, pennies saw heavy movements on Thursday. Y Ventures surged 2.6 Singapore cents or 41.3 per cent to 8.9 cents and Synagie Corp added two Singapore cents or 31.8 per cent to close at 8.3 cents. Both companies received queries from the Singapore Exchange for their unusual price movements.

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