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Singapore shares close 1.7% higher

THE Singapore bourse continued to trade on an optimistic path on Tuesday, with sentiments lifted by vaccine hopes and Wall Street’s overnight rally. 

The key Straits Times Index jumped 42.05 points or 1.66 per cent to finish at 2,581.33.

Indices across major Asian bourses including Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Australia also posted strong gains. The market euphoria is unfolding as more economies ease restrictions that had led to one of the steepest downturns since the Great Depression.

Phillip Futures analyst Samuel Siew, referring to the encouraging outcome of an early-stage trial by Moderna Inc on an experimental vaccine, said: “Currently, it appears that the hopes for a potential Covid-19 vaccine appears to be outweighing the rising geopolitical (US-China) tensions.

“That story (about the hope of a vaccine) may yet contain heartbreak for bulls,” cautioned Jeffrey Halley of OANDA, referring to the small sample size of the trial and that, in the best-case scenario, it could take a year for “normal life” to make a comeback.

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Some 1.8 billion shares worth S$1.54 billion were traded on the local bourse. Gainers outpaced losers with 24 counters up and five down.

Tuesday’s extended gains from the day before was once again led by Singapore’s three banks DBS, UOB and OCBC, which rose by between 1.7 and 2.8 per cent.

One of the day’s active counters was Yoma Strategic, with 33 million shares worth S$8.5 million traded; the counter gained one Singapore cent or 4.17 per cent to 25 Singapore cents. DBS Group Research issued a "buy" call on the counter, with a target price of 50 Singapore cents after Yoma’s recent tie-up with Alipay operator to spur its investment in a financial services provider in Myanmar.

Perennial Real Estate Holdings rose three Singapore cents, or more than 5 per cent, to 61 Singapore cents. At one point, it jumped to a high of 66 Singapore cents. It announced on Monday night that certain substantial shareholders were mulling options on their holdings in the company.

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