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Singapore shares soar 1.6% in risk-on Wednesday session

THERE was much cheer for traders during Wednesday's session, thanks to a confluence of factors that supported risk appetite ahead of the European Central Bank's rate decision on Thursday.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) moved ahead from the opening bell, eventually settling at 3,204.52 on Wednesday, gaining 48.81 points or 1.6 per cent.

It was much of the same elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific as Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea posted gains. China bucked the trend, closing 12.39 points or 0.4 per cent lower at 3,008.81.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.45 billion securities, 21 per cent over the daily average in the first eight months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.41 billion, 31 per cent more than the January-to-August daily average.

Across the market, advancers trumped decliners 238 to 157. The blue-chip index had just four of the 30 counters in the red.

With 62.1 million shares changing hands, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding remained the STI's most active counter. Its stock jumped five Singapore cents or 5 per cent to close at S$1.06. The shipbuilder is still trading below S$1.30, its closing price on Aug 7 - the session before its shares plummeted by more than 30 per cent over the next two trading days.

The local banks continued to do the heavy lifting on the benchmark. DBS Group Holdings advanced S$0.30 or 1.2 per cent at S$25.25 while OCBC Bank added S$0.15 or 1.4 per cent to S$11.00. But United Overseas Bank was the best-performing of the three, finishing at S$26.37 on a S$0.60 or 2.3 per cent rise.

Sembcorp Industries shares rose six Singapore cents or 2.8 per cent to S$2.21 while its subsidiary Sembcorp Marine closed four Singapore cents or 3.3 per cent up at S$1.26. Keppel Corp gained S$0.11 or 1.8 per cent to S$6.21.

Offshore and marine sector picks, CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang noted, were likely to have built up strong gains on the back of rising crude oil prices with "the new appointment of Saudi Arabia's energy minister inspiring hope for further production cuts".