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Singapore shares open higher on Friday; STI up 0.21% to 3,379.20

SINGAPORE shares ticked higher on Friday with the Straits Times Index up 6.95 points or 0.21 per cent to 3,379.20 as at 9.05am.

The listless local market followed a strong showing in European markets and a closed US market due to its Independence Day holiday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.1 per cent, extending gains to a sixth straight session on optimism that Christine Lagarde will stick to the European Central Bank's dovish stance as the central bank's next chief.

Italian stocks saw the biggest gains as Rome avoided European Union (EU) disciplinary action and expectations rose for looser monetary policy from major central banks.

Milan's MIB rose 1 per cent to hit its highest level in almost a year, while its bank index soared 3.4 per cent after Italy persuaded the European Commission that new measures submitted this week would help bring its growing debt in line with EU fiscal rules.

On the Singapore Exchange, about 41.4 million shares worth about S$88.6 million changed hands, which worked out to an average unit price of about S$2.14 per share.

Gainers outnumbered losers 77 to 32.

The most actively traded security was Genting Singapore, which was up S$0.015 or 1.7 per cent to S$0.92 with 4.7 million shares changing hands. Other actives included Golden Agri-Resources and Alpha Energy.

Among financials, DBS declined S$0.22 or 0.84 per cent to S$25.84, while counterparts UOB gained S$0.11 or 0.42 per cent to S$26.58 and OCBC gained S$0.02 or 0.17 per cent to S$11.51.

Among other index stocks, Singtel, a stock which has seen a recent resurgence, was trading up S$0.01 or 0.28 per cent to S$3.54 with 1.9 million shares changing hands. Meanwhile, Ascendas Reit units traded flat at S$3.15.

Meanwhile a flat opening session saw Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index trading down just 0.01 per cent or 2.36 points at 21,700.09.