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Singapore shares open higher on Friday; STI up 0.6% to 3,164.72

SINGAPORE shares opened higher on Friday, with the Straits Times Index rising 0.6 per cent, or 17.66 points to 3,164.72 as at 9.01am. 

This comes after Wall Street stocks rocketed higher overnight amid optimism of thawing geopolitical tensions, after the US and China said they will resume trade negotiations in October. 

The risk-on mood among investors also comes amid positive US data showing increased private-sector hiring in August, and better than expected services sector activity. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.4 per cent, the broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.3 per cent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.8 per cent.

On the Singapore bourse, gainers outnumbered losers 70 to 22, after about 22.1 million shares worth S$$45.8 million changed hands.

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Among the most heavily traded by volume, Yangzijiang (YZJ) Shipbuilding advanced 1.6 per cent, or 1.5 cents to 98 cents, with 8.2 million shares traded. The Chinese shipbuilder said on Wednesday after market close that it has inked new order contracts for five vessels. YZJ shares have been volatile since news broke that the leader of a charity foundation set up by YZJ chairman Ren Yuanlin was being investigated by the Chinese authorities. 

Mapletree North Asia Commercial (NAC) Trust gained 0.8 per cent, or one cent to S$1.34, with 1.7 million units traded.

The banking trio also posted gains in the early morning trade - DBS climbed 0.9 per cent, or 22 cents to S$24.85, United Overseas Bank added 1.1 per cent, or 27 cents to S$25.53, and OCBC Bank rose 0.8 per cent, or nine cents to S$10.86. 

Other active stocks included City Developments which climbed 1.7 per cent, or 16 cents to S$9.59, and Venture which gained 1.5 per cent, or 22 cents to S$15.31 on an ex-dividend basis.

Elsewhere, Asian equities rose after US stocks cruised to one-month highs overnight as a slew of data boosted confidence in the American economy. 

Japan's Topix index rose 0.5 per cent as of 8.04am, South Korea's Kospi added 0.6 per cent, and Australia stocks gained 0.3 per cent. 

Futures on the S&P 500 Index advanced 0.2 per cent, with the underlying gauge rising 1.3 per cent on Thursday.