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Singapore shares gain 1% on Wednesday as rally continues

THE rally in Asian markets continued on Wednesday on the back of improving prospects of a US-China trade deal, even though IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned of slower growth in many economies.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 31.49 points or 0.96 per cent to close at 3,311.27. 

Trading clocked in at 1.83 billion securities, about 32 per cent more than the daily average over the first two months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.42 billion, 39 per cent over the January-to-February daily average. Advancers outnumbered decliners 245 to 190.

A sizeable amount of Wednesday's trading volume was down to a married trade where Hong Kong-listed China Everbright purchased 767.1 million shares or 30 per cent of the total outstanding shares from Newest Luck Holdings at 14 Singapore cents per share in real estate firm Ying Li International. The transaction occurred minutes before market close.

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Shares in the usually thinly-traded counter ended the session 0.1 Singapore cent or 0.7 per cent higher at 13.9 cents. The total value of the trades was S$108.56 million. 

Twenty-three of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the black. Among them, Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded. The casino operator ended one Singapore cent or 0.9 per cent up at S$1.06 with 34 million shares changing hands.  

Going by value of trades done, DBS Group Holdings saw S$187.83 million traded – 13 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded – across 7.04 million shares. The bank's shares closed S$0.66 or 2.5 per cent higher at S$26.73

The other local banks also closed in positive territory. OCBC Bank closed S$0.20 or 1.8 per cent up at S$11.55 while United Overseas Bank added S$0.36 or 1.4 per cent to close at S$26.10.

Among non-STI counters, oil and gas company Rex International's shares closed 0.4 Singapore cent or 5.1 per cent higher at 8.2 cents.

Meanwhile, Clearbridge Health continued to post gains, adding 2.2 Singapore cents or 13 per cent to close at 19.1 cents. On Monday, PhillipCapital initiated coverage on the stock with a "buy" recommendation and a target price of 28 cents. The report was produced by Phillip Securities Research under the SGX StockFacts Research Programme.