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Singapore shares jump 1.1% at Tuesday’s open to 3,172.15

SINGAPORE stocks rallied more than 1 per cent on Tuesday morning following a slew of major corporate developments the previous day.

After opening up 0.51 per cent or 15.93 points to 3,155.08 as at 9.01am, the Straits Times Index climbed as high as 1.1 per cent to 3,172.15 by 9.14am.

At the open, gainers outnumbered losers 71 to 26 after 37.9 million securities worth S$93.9 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Singtel rose 1.6 per cent or S$0.05 to S$3.27 with 4.5 million shares traded.

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Keppel Corp soared 13.9 per cent or S$0.81 to S$6.65 with 3.7 million shares traded. This comes after news on Monday that shareholder Temasek Holdings plans to take control of the conglomerate with a partial offer at S$7.35 apiece in cash  to acquire an additional 30.55 per cent of Keppel shares. If successful, the S$4.08 billion deal will bump up Temasek's stake in Keppel to 51 per cent.

Sembcorp Marine (SembMarine) exyended its rally from the Monday, adding 3.7 per cent or S$0.05 to S$1.39 with 1.7 million shares traded. Its parent Sembcorp Industries did likewise, advancing another 0.9 per cent or S$0.02 to S$2.31 with 1.1 million shares traded.

On Monday, shares of SembMarine surged on Monday afternoon after Keppel's announcement, prompting a query from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on the stock's "unusual price movements". The counter jumped as high as 11.6 per cent to S$1.34 at 2.52pm after the query which came at 2.05pm. 

By 4.01pm on Monday, shares of SembMarine were up 12.5 per cent while those of its parent, Sembcorp Industries, jumped 10.6 per cent

The rigbuilder later responded to SGX in the evening, confirming its compliance with listing rules on disclosure, and stated it was unaware of other explanations for the share jump, "save for possible market speculation" arising from Temasek-Keppel deal.

Temasek's bid for comtrol of Keppel will be followed by a strategic business review, which analysts said could lead to a consolidation of Singapore's offshore & marine (O&M) sector with a possible merger between the biggest shipyards Keppel O&M and SembMarine. 

Also trading at high volume on Tuesday morning is Spackman Entertainment Group, which fell 6.3 per cent or S$0.001 to S$0.015 with 2.0 million shares traded.

Active index stocks included Ascott Residence Trust, up 0.7 per cent or S$0.01 to S$1.38 and Ascendas Hospitality Trust, up 1.8 per cent or S$0.02 to S$1.15. On Monday, unitholders of the trust voted in overwhelming favour of the merger between both entities

Financials also opened stronger, with OCBC Bank up 0.2 per cent or S$0.02 to S$10.69; DBS Group Holdings up 0.7 per cent or S$0.17 to S$24.95; and United Overseas Bank, up 0.5 per cent or S$0.12 to S$26.07.

Stocks in Asia advanced after US shares closed higher on optimism over US-China trade talks and upcoming earnings reports. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 per cent while South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.7 per cent. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.2 per cent at 27,827.64, while the S&P 500 gained 0.7 per cent to 3,006.72 and the Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.9 per cent to 8,162.99.

European shares meanwhile closed higher on Monday after three days of losses, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index up 0.6 per cent.