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Singapore shares open higher on Monday after Japan's surprise stimulus

SINGAPORE share prices opened 0.37 per cent higher on Monday, with the Straits Times Index (STI) up 9.61 points to 2,638.72 at 9.01am.

It took cue from US markets on Friday and Asian markets on Monday, which rose after the Bank of Japan on Friday adopted a below-zero interest rate policy, essentially charging lenders to park their cash with it.

US stocks jumped 2.5 per cent on Friday, joining a global rally after Japan's surprise stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 396.66 points (2.47 per cent) at 16,466.30. The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 46.88 (2.48 per cent) to 1,940.24, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 107.28 (2.38 per cent) to 4,613.95.

In Asia, Tokyo stocks opened sharply higher on Monday, as exporters were lifted by a weaker yen and investors reacted positively to last week's surprise interest rate cut.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange advanced 1.03 per cent, or 181.30 points, to 17,699.60 in opening deals, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares gained 1.12 per cent, or 15.97 points, to 1,448.04.

On Monday morning, among the most active counters on Singapore's bourse were Noble (up 4.8 per cent to S$0.325), Singtel (up 0.3 per cent to S$3.52), and Thai Beverage (flat at S$0.68).

Last week, global investment firm Franklin Templeton became a substantial shareholder of Noble after picking up its shares on the cheap. The fund manager on Wednesday bought 2.5 million shares for S$712,500, or 28.5 cents a share, through the market. This brings its stake in the company to 5.03 per cent, up from 4.99 per cent, previously.

It was also announced last week that Thai Beverage has used its Singapore-listed unit Fraser and Neave (F&N) to bid for London-headquartered SABMiller's Peroni and Grolsch beer brands. The deal could be worth up to three billion euros (S$4.6 billion).

Overall on the stock market, 69.5 million shares worth S$96.6 million changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 118 to 44 at 9.01am.