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Singapore stocks open higher Monday; STI up 0.6%

SINGAPORE stocks started the week stronger, building on last week's gains, after economic data released on Monday morning showed some positive signs.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 15.66 points or 0.6 per cent to 2,828.67 as at 9.01 am. Over the course of last week, the STI had risen about 3.75 per cent to 2,813.01 on Friday, with four days of gains and just one day of loss.

Gainers outnumbered losers 114 to 27, after 482.4 million securities worth S$65.2 million changed hands.

Economic data released on Monday morning showed that Singapore's economy shrank by 5.8 per cent year on year in the third quarter, beating an earlier estimate of a 7 per cent decline, on better-than-expected factory output in September.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is also projected to grow by 4 per cent to 6 per cent in 2021, as the world's major economies recover from the economic disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic and post a rebound from this year's low base.

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The trio of local banks were trading higher on Monday morning, with DBS rising 1.1 per cent or S$0.28 to S$24.88, UOB gaining 0.9 per cent or S$0.21 to S$22.99, and OCBC increasing 0.2 per cent or S$0.02 to S$9.98.

Singapore Airlines shares were among the most active in terms of value traded at the open. Its shares fell 1.7 per cent or S$0.07 to S$4.02. It comes after the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble was deferred, less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to begin, due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.

Other aviation-related counters such as SATS were also trading lower, falling S$0.03 or 0.7 per cent to S$4.14.

Shares of Singapore Press Holdings ranked among the top five in terms of value traded. The counter rose 1.6 per cent or S$0.02 to S$1.27 as at 9.01 am. The counter had risen 19.1 per cent on Friday to close at S$1.25, amid active trading, prompting a query from the bourse operator.

Among the most actively traded stocks in the morning by volume was QT Vascular, which fell 44.4 per cent or 0.4 Singapore cent per share to 0.5 cent per share.

In the US, stocks closed lower last Friday, as investors wrestled with fiscal stimulus developments, concerns over a lengthy rollout of vaccines, and a growing number of state-level shutdowns to combat the spiralling Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 219.75 points or 0.75 per cent to 29,263.48, the S&P 500 lost 24.33 points or 0.68 per cent to 3,557.54 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 49.74 points or 0.42 per cent to 11,854.97.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, stocks were also tracking higher on Monday morning. The ASX 200 in Australia was up 0.7 per cent at 6,584.6 in morning trade, while the Kospi in South Korea was up 1 per cent at 2,579.01. Markets in Japan are closed on Monday for a holiday.

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