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Singapore shares open higher on Wednesday following inflation data; STI up 0.24% to 3,381.08

SINGAPORE stocks opened higher on Wednesday, after official data showed inflation rates eased in June, strengthening economists' expectations of monetary easing ahead.

The Republic’s headline inflation was 0.6 per cent year on year in June, down from 0.9 per cent in May, according to consumer price index figures released on Tuesday. Core inflation, which strips out accommodation and private road transport costs, edged down to 1.2 per cent year on year.

The Straits Times Index gained 0.24 per cent or 7.95 points to 3,381.08 points as at 9.03am on Wednesday.

Gainers outpaced losers 88 to 53, after about 87.2 million securities worth S$90.1 million changed hands.

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Among the most heavily traded were Jiutian Chemical which rose 6.67 per cent or 0.1 Singapore cent to 1.6 cents on 8.7 million shares traded, and Singtel which fell 0.57 per cent or two cents to S$3.50 on a cum-dividend basis after 8.2 million shares changed hands as at 9.03am.

Yoma Strategic dropped 2.6 per cent or one Singapore cent to 37.5 cents, with 1.5 million shares traded. The Myanmar-focused group on Wednesday morning reported a net loss of US$13.3 million for its first quarter, deepening from a net loss of US$5.6 million a year ago.

Banking stocks started the morning trade in positive territory. OCBC gained 0.43 per cent or five cents to S$11.73, DBS was up 0.45 per cent or 12 cents to S$26.75, and UOB increase 0.41 per cent or 11 cents to S$26.91 as at 9.03am.

Other active index securities included Jardine Strategic Holdings which rose 0.19 per cent or seven US cents to US$36.86, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding which lost 0.66 per cent or one cent to S$1.51, and StarHub which tumbled 1.91 per cent or three cents to S$1.54.

Venture Corporation climbed 1.66 per cent or 26 Singapore cents to S$15.93 as at 9.03am. The electronics manufacturing services provider said on Tuesday that asset manager BlackRock had become one of its substantial shareholders.

Mapletree Industrial Trust was flat at S$2.30. It reported a 3.3 per cent increase in its distribution per unit for the first quarter to 3.10 Singapore cents, after net property income rose 12.2 per cent to S$77.9 million.

MTQ Corporation gained 2.38 per cent or 0.5 Singapore cent to 21.5 cents as at 9.03am. The group was back in the black for its first quarter with a net profit of S$767,000, compared to a net loss of S$3.5 million a year ago.

The Singapore bourse’s gains on Wednesday morning follow Wall Street’s rally overnight. A broad range of US companies enjoyed strong gains in their shares on Tuesday after reporting financial results, reassuring investors who had been worried about a possible earnings “recession”.

Reports that face-to-face US-China talks will be held next week also lifted hopes of a trade agreement.

In China, the new Nasdaq-style Star Market reversed its gains on its second day of trading. The biggest shareholders on the board lost a combined US$1 billion on Tuesday, a day after the board’s roaring debut created three new billionaires.

On Wednesday, Tokyo stocks also opened on higher ground. The Nikkei 225 index was up 0.43 per cent, while the broader Topix index was up 0.35 per cent.