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Singapore shares edge up at Thursday's open; STI up 0.4%

SINGAPORE shares began trading on Thursday morning in slightly positive territory, with the key Straits Times Index (STI) advancing 11.46 points or 0.4 per cent to 2,988.97 as at 9.01am.

Gainers outnumbered losers 94 to 25, after 67.5 million securities worth S$54.7 million changed hands.

Among the index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Thai Beverage, which was flat at S$0.77 with 1.8 million shares traded.

The trio of local lenders were mostly up in early trade. DBS added S$0.16 or 0.6 per cent to S$26.92, UOB gained S$0.15 or 0.6 per cent to S$23.85, while OCBC was flat at S$10.62.

Other active stocks included GKE Corporation which rose 0.4 Singapore cent or 3 per cent to 13.9 cents. This comes after the Catalist-listed logistics provider more than trebled its first-half net profit to S$6.5 million, on the back of a concrete production ramp-up, unaudited results on Wednesday showed.

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SPH Reit was up two Singapore cents or 2.4 per cent to 85.5 cents. The real estate investment trust has declared a first-quarter distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.2 Singapore cents, down from 1.38 Singapore cents the year prior. The lower DPU, down by 13 per cent year on year, was "in line with the gradual Covid-19 recovery in both Singapore and Australia", said the manager in an interim business update on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, shares of Catalist-listed HC Surgical Specialists jumped S$0.10 or 28.6 per cent to S$0.45. The colorectal clinic operator's H1 net profit more than doubled to S$5 million for the six months to Nov 30, 2020, while revenue was up 12.4 per cent year on year to about S$11 million, its unaudited results indicated on Wednesday.

Over on Wall Street, US equities finished a choppy session mostly higher, as Intel rallied on an executive shake-up, while investors monitored the impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down less than 0.1 per cent at 31,060.47. The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent at 3,809.84 by the closing bell, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 per cent to 13,128.95.

In Europe, London-listed shares fell on Wednesday, as rising coronavirus cases and fresh lockdowns imposed across the region raised caution about the near-term effects on the economy. The bluechip FTSE 100 index dropped 0.1 per cent, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index fell 0.5 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday on profit-taking following recent rallies and a mixed showing on US markets overnight. The benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 0.2 per cent or 42.10 points at 28,414.49 in early trade, while the broader Topix index slipped 0.2 per cent or 4.45 points to 1,859.95.

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