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STI climbs 1.19% as Asian equities rally following Biden's win

SINGAPORE stocks rallied on Monday following news that Democrat challenger Joe Biden was declared president of the United States over the weekend, easing the uncertainty that loomed over the outcome of the elections.

Asian markets elsewhere continued to register gains from last week with key benchmarks for Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur all ending higher.

Daniel Gerard, senior multi-asset strategist at State Street Global Markets, said that president-elect Biden's win "has been embraced by markets as it provides narrative of desire for reconciliation, diplomacy and more international cooperation".

"Asia, particularly emerging markets Asia, will be a strong beneficiary of the current environment, due to its relatively better handling of the pandemic, its exposure to technology and recovering consumer and global trade story," he said. However, near-term risks including renewed geopolitical tensions and a resurging pandemic could threaten to reverse gains in global trades, he added.

The local blue chip benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) ended Monday up 1.19 per cent or 30.68 points to 2,609.36. Gainers outpaced losers 319 to 166, with 1.74 billion securities worth S$1.24 billion changing hands.

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The best performer was Venture Corporation, which gained 4.5 per cent or S$0.90 to S$20.72. This is despite the electronics manufacturing services firm posting a 5.9 per cent decline in its third-quarter net profit to S$80.2 million from a year ago.

Also in the black were the local lenders. DBS climbed 2.1 per cent or S$0.46 to S$22.95, OCBC gained 1.9 per cent or S$0.17 to S$9.10, while UOB advanced 1 per cent or S$0.20 to S$20.65.

CGS-CIMB had on Monday upgraded the banking sector to "overweight" from "neutral" following the lenders' better-than-expected results for the third quarter.

Only three STI constituents ended the day in the red. SIA dipped 1.4 per cent or S$0.05 to S$3.43; Sembcorp Industries fell 0.6 per cent to or S$0.01 to S$1.65, while Mapletree Logistics Trust shed 0.5 per cent or S$0.01 to S$2.07.

Among the index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Thai Beverage, which gained 0.8 per cent or 0.5 Singapore cent to S$0.64 after some 30.9 million shares changed hands.

Outside the STI, Aspen was among the active counters. Its shares surged 15.1 per cent to 30.5 Singapore cents, and on heavy volume with over 121.4 million shares changing hands. The Malaysian property developer and soon-to-be glove maker announced on Monday that it is proposing to place up to 100 million new shares in the company at an issue price of 23.8 Singapore cents apiece to raise up to S$23.8 million.

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