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STI closes 0.1% higher on Wednesday on mixed signals

LOCAL shares clawed back early losses on Wednesday to close slightly higher as traders welcomed Tuesday's findings that a cheap generic steroid dramatically reduces Covid-19 death rates, even as they took the better-than-expected US retail sales print with a pinch of salt.

The Straits Times Index (STI) finished 2.77 points or 0.1 per cent higher at 2,669.62. Gainers outnumbered losers 209 to 169, with 1.43 billion securities worth S$1.13 billion traded.

Top active Synagie rose 0.6 Singapore cent or 3.70 per cent to S$0.168 on volume of 134.7 million.

Top gainer Jardine Matheson rose 64 US cents or 1.50 per cent to US$43.25. 

Top loser Shinvest fell 24 Singapore cents or 8.16 per cent to S$2.70, after having risen 24 Singapore cents the day before.

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OUE rose seven Singapore cents or 5.93 per cent to S$1.25 after it said late Tuesday that it is moving closer towards a sale of the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles.

Plant engineering firm PEC rose five Singapore cents or 10.87 per cent to S$0.51 after it said it will consolidate its stake in a Chinese subsidiary to lift its pro forma earnings per share.

Regional markets lacked direction. The Hang Seng rose 0.56 per cent, the KLSE climbed 0.57 per cent, the Shanghai Composite inched 0.14 per cent higher while the Nikkei fell 0.56 per cent.

Meanwhile, a record 78 per cent of fund managers polled globally say stocks are overvalued, the highest consensus since 1998, according to Bank of America’s latest monthly survey.

These funds also reduced their cash holdings to 4.7 per cent from 5.7 per cent, the biggest monthly drop since Aug 2009, led by institutional funds such as pension funds and insurance companies.

Hedge funds have hiked their net equity exposure to 52 per cent in June from 34 per cent a month ago – the highest since Sept 2018.

But June’s optimism is “fragile” and “nowhere near dangerously bullish”, the survey noted, as only 18 per cent of managers polled expect a V-shaped rebound whereas 64 per cent expect a U- or W-shaped recovery.

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