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Singapore shares end week in the black, tracking Wall Street gains; STI up 0.4%

LOCAL shares finished the week on a high, in tandem with Wall Street stocks that rose on hopes of a stimulus package. Market watchers noted that the final US presidential debate on Friday was less chaotic than the first, but offered little in terms of new information on which way the vote counts were turning.

The benchmark Straits Times Index ended Friday up 0.4 per cent or 8.98 points at 2,537.39. Decliners outnumbered advancers 213 to 177, with some 1.25 billion securities worth S$928.7 million having changed hands.

The positive investor sentiment was echoed over at Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indices each gained 0.5 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.2 per cent.

Stephen Innes, AxiCorp's chief global market strategist said: "Markets are trading higher, but cautiously in line with the current stimulus, 'before-election' theme as stocks ebb and flow on the unwind and rotations swivel."

He added that Joe Biden's comments on a US$2 trillion "clean-energy plan" should support the narrative that "the greatest amount of fiscal stimulus would materialise under a Democratic presidency and sweep of Congress".

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Three out of four of the companies under the Jardine Group were the top gainers on the Singapore bourse. Jardine Matheson Holdings (JMH) and Jardine Strategic Holdings (JSH) again finished in the top two spots. JMH gained US$0.97 or 2.3 per cent to US$44.00; JSH added US$0.72 or 3.4 per cent to close at US$21.68.

Meanwhile, Jardine Cycle and Carriage rose S$0.29 or 1.6 per cent to close at S$18.91. Hongkong Land, however, lost US$0.04 or 1.1 per cent to close at US$3.77.

Local offshore and marine group BH Global was the biggest decliner of the day, closing 34.1 per cent or 15.5 Singapore cents lower at S$0.30.

Mapletree Logistics Trust was the biggest loser among constituent stocks, despite positive news about its private placement to finance its Asia acquisition spree worth S$1.09 billion. The placement was about 5.5 times covered, with the issue price fixed at S$2.027 per new unit. The counter fell S$0.07 or 3.3 per cent on Friday to S$2.05 on a cum-dividend basis.

A few other real estate investment trusts (Reits) ended the week in the red. Ascendas Reit lost S$0.02 or 0.7 per cent to S$3.08; CapitaLand Mall Trust shed S$0.01 or 0.5 per cent to S$1.88, and Mapletree Commercial Trust fell S$0.01 or 0.5 per cent to S$1.90.

The trio of lenders ended the week higher. DBS added S$0.11 or 0.5 per cent to S$21.55; UOB gained S$0.10 or 0.5 per cent to S$20.08, and OCBC closed at S$8.81, up S$0.05 or 0.6 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets largely ended higher. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 per cent; the Hang Seng index rose 0.5 per cent, and the broader Topix added 0.3 per cent. However, the KLCI fell 0.3 per cent.

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