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Singapore stocks extend gains, STI up 0.76% to hit 3,000

SINGAPORE's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) touched 3,000 points on Thursday for the first time since March last year, gaining 0.76 per cent or 22.49 points.

Across the broader market, gainers outnumbered losers 276 to 203, after 2.52 billion securities worth S$1.27 billion changed hands.

Elsewhere in Asia, it was a mixed bag even as US President-elect Joe Biden's stimulus plan comes into greater focus. Key benchmarks in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended Thursday higher, while Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta were in the red.

"With President-elect Biden shooting for the moon on stimulus, and China data suggesting its economic juggernaut remains on track, financial markets should enter the last part of the week in a positive frame of mind," said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

Another boost for markets could come from positive preliminary data from Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine trials, said Mr Halley, adding that this might trigger another cyclical recovery rotation trade at the end of the month.

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The best-performing counters on the STI were property developers City Developments, which gained 3.7 per cent or S$0.27 to S$7.55, and UOL Group, which rose 2.5 per cent or S$0.19 to S$7.91.

Following behind was Wilmar International, which edged up 2.4 per cent or S$0.12 to S$5.17. Maybank Kim Eng had recently raised its target price for Wilmar to S$6.80 from S$5.40 previously, in anticipation of a number of potential upside surprises for the agri-business group. This includes a rise in palm oil prices and an improvement in its food products business in China as the economy picks up.

At the bottom of the table was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding. Its shares dipped 1.8 per cent or S$0.02 to S$1.07. It was also the most active counter on the blue-chip index, with over 47.9 million shares changing hands.

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