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Singapore shares soar 1.5% on Monday on strong macroeconomic data

THE Singapore market, like many others in the region, got a boost to start the week, thanks to positive sentiment on the global economy following strong US first-quarter economic growth, and data on Saturday showing profits at Chinese industrial firms grew for the first time in four months.

The Straits Times Index (STI) got an additional lift, thanks to the three local banks, to close at 3,407.02, up 50.07 points or 1.5 per cent. This is the first time the benchmark index has closed above 3,400 this year.

Trading clocked in at 1.05 billion securities, 83 per cent of the daily average over the first three months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.23 billion, 20 per cent higher than the January-to-March daily average. Across the market, advancers outpaced decliners 218 to 171.

Compared to the broader market, the benchmark index fared better on the day, with 25 of the STI's 30 components ending in the black.

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Among them, Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded. The casino operator closed 1.5 Singapore cents or 1.6 per cent up at 98.5 cents  with 68.2 million shares changing hands.

The local banks, which make up 40 per cent of the weighting on the STI, did most of the heavy lifting on the day. DBS Group Holdings closed S$0.99 or 3.6 per cent higher at S$28.40 after posting a 9 per cent increase in first-quarter net profit to S$1.65 billion on healthy business momentum and higher net interest margin.

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank finished S$0.31 or 2.6 per cent higher at S$12.12 and United Overseas Bank added S$0.69 or 2.5 per cent at S$27.97.

Telco Singtel added three Singapore cents or 1 per cent to S$3.16 and consumer staples counters like Golden Agri-Resources, which added 0.5 Singapore cent or 1.8 per cent to close at 29 cents, were seen following the financial sector with gains on the day.

Among non-STI counters, No Signboard Holdings dropped 0.7 Singapore cent or 8.3 per cent to 7.7 cents, its lowest closing price since its debut on the Singapore Exchange's Catalist board in November 2017. The restaurant operator's shares resumed trading on Monday following a trading halt on Apr 24. Before market open, the company said that the Singapore Police Force's Commercial Affairs Department has launched an investigation over a recent share buyback.