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Singapore shares edge up at Thursday's open; STI up 0.2%

SINGAPORE stocks opened higher on Thursday, tracking overnight gains from Wall Street as technology stocks recovered.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) inched up 0.2 per cent or 5.69 points to 2,718.97 as at 9.04am.

Gainers outnumbered losers 98 to 47, or about two securities up for every one down, after 141.1 million securities worth S$122.2 million changed hands.

One of the most active counters by volume was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which dropped 1.6 per cent or 1.5 Singapore cents to 92 cents, with 10 million shares traded.

Other heavily traded securities included Sembcorp Marine, which held steady at 12.9 Singapore cents with 3.3 million shares traded, as well as Singtel, which remained unchanged at S$2.23 with three million shares traded.

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The telco on Thursday posted a net profit of S$466.1 million for the six months ended Sept 30, 2020, reversing from a net loss of S$127 million a year ago.

Hyphens Pharma International declined 6.6 per cent or 2.5 Singapore cents to 35.5 cents. The pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare group on Wednesday said its net profit for the third quarter shrank by 53 per cent year on year to S$847,000.

Fraser and Neave was up 3.3 per cent or S$0.04 to S$1.26. The company on Wednesday posted a drop in volumes from its soft drinks and publishing businesses weighed on the beverage giant's full-year revenue, which fell 3.6 per cent to S$1.83 billion. Net profit dipped 2.1 per cent to S$149.2 million.

Banking stocks were mixed in early trade. DBS was down 0.2 per cent or S$0.05 to S$24.35, UOB rose 0.9 per cent or S$0.19 to S$21.64, while OCBC rose 0.7 per cent or S$0.07 to S$9.67.

Other active index counters included Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust which held steady at S$3.03, and Singapore Airlines, which advanced 0.5 per cent or S$0.02 to S$3.94.

In the US, the Nasdaq closed up 2 per cent on Wednesday as investors switched back to technology stocks and away from economically sensitive sectors as they weighed Covid-19 vaccine progress against a virus surge and likely timing for an economic rebound.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1 per cent to 29,397.63, the S&P 500 rose 0.8 per cent to 3,572.66 and the Nasdaq Composite added 2 per cent to 11,786.43.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.6 per cent to 25,502.45 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.1 per cent to 1,727.87.

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