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Singapore stocks: STI resumes Wednesday afternoon up 0.7% on day

SINGAPORE equities resumed trading on Wednesday afternoon building on its early gains, with the Straits Times Index (STI) advancing 21.34 points or 0.7 per cent to 3,217.97 as at 1.04pm.

Investor sentiment in the city-state is being lifted by support measures for Singapore listings most affected by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Traders are also taking heart from the lower number of new Covid-19 cases globally.

Shortly after the afternoon session began, volume traded on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 866.9 million securities with a total turnover of S$560.1 million. Both volume and turnover are on track to beat their respective 2019 intraday averages.

Across the market, advancers trumped decliners 229 to 104. The bluechip index had three of the 30 counters trading in the red.

Singtel was the STI's most active counter, dipping S$0.01 or 0.3 per cent to S$3.16 on 16.4 million shares changing hands. Shares in the telco have lost 6.2 per cent since Q3 earnings were announced last Thursday.

That said, DBS Group Research analyst Sachin Mittal noted on Wednesday that Singtel shares were trading at a holding company discount of 19 per cent - more than its four-year average of 15 per cent -  and with a 5.5 per cent yield.

Financials reversed their losses from Tuesday. DBS shares added S$0.14 or 0.6 per cent to S$25.41, OCBC Bank gained S$0.12 or 1.1 per cent to S$11.09 and United Overseas Bank was trading at S$26.03, up S$0.22 or 0.9 per cent as at 1.04pm on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Great Eastern jumped S$0.37 or 1.7 per cent to S$22.19. On Wednesday before market open, the insurance arm of OCBC Bank posted a fourth-quarter net profit of S$287 million, more than double from a year ago.

In line with broad market gains, local tech manufacturers rebounded after outlook was hit by an Apple earnings downgrade for the January-March quarter. AEM Holdings added S$0.08 or 3.7 per cent to S$2.25 while UMS Holdings was up S$0.02 or 2 per cent to S$1.04.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, benchmarks in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan were higher in the afternoon.