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Singapore shares open higher on Wednesday, tracking Wall Street rally; STI up 1%

SINGAPORE shares opened stronger on Wednesday, tracking a Wall Street rally overnight, with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rising 26.19 points or 1 per cent to 2,646.38 as at 9.01am. 

The STI ended lower on Tuesday, as sentiment was dampened by advanced estimates that showed Singapore's second-quarter gross domestic product shrank 41.2 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter basis. With two straight quarters of quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year contraction, Singapore has entered both a technical and full-blown recession.   

On the Singapore bourse, gainers outnumbered losers 143 to 14, after about 71.1 million securities worth S$62.1 million changed hands. 

Among the most heavily traded by volume were healthcare players Clearbridge, which advanced 9 per cent or 1.7 Singapore cents to 20.5 cents, with 8.1 million shares traded, and IX Biopharma, which rose 6.4 per cent or two Singapore cents to 33.5 cents, with 7.1 million shares changing hands. 

Financials were also up in early trade. DBS gained S$0.34 or 1.6 per cent to S$21.82, United Overseas Bank added S$0.34 or 1.7 per cent to S$21.01, while OCBC Bank rose S$0.14 or 1.5 per cent to S$9.30. 

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OCBC may be facing the prospects of a digital banking licence in Malaysia, if a deal made by its insurance arm Great Eastern in late-June is anything to go by, The Business Times reported. 

Other active stocks include ComfortDelGro, which was up S$0.03 or 2.1 per cent to S$1.49, and Biolidics, which gained S$0.01 or 1.9 per cent to S$0.53. 

Biolidics on Tuesday night said it has inked a five-year licence agreement with the commercialisation arm of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research. The Catalist-listed firm plans to develop new Covid-19 serology tests using the agency's technology. 

Meanwhile, Jardine Matheson Holdings fell US$0.77 or 1.9 per cent to US$39.73. 

Over on Wall Street, stocks soared on Tuesday as hopes of more stimulus measures helped to counter mixed results from the biggest US banks. The Dow jumped 2.1 per cent, the broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.3 per cent, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.9 per cent.

European stocks were hit by a sell-off in tech shares overnight, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index falling 0.8 per cent after two days of gains.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday, following the rally on Wall Street. The Nikkei 225 index climbed 1 per cent, while the broader Topix rose 0.9 per cent in early trade.

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