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STI closes 0.75% higher at 2,515.98, with US vote count underway

HOPES of a decisive outcome to the US elections melted away during the Asian trading session, raising concerns that a much needed stimulus programme will not be quickly passed on Capitol Hill.

Stéphane Monier, chief investment officer at Swiss private bank Lombard Odier, in a statement just before the end of trading in Singapore: "It's far too close to call, but right now, it is clear that the Democrat landslide suggested by polling is just not materialising.

"For now, it very much looks that whoever wins the White House, we face a divided Congress. This has far-reaching implications for markets, mostly because it means that any kind of pandemic recovery package is still tough to approve," he added.

Investors in Singapore were hardly in full retreat though.

The benchmark Straits Times Index ended Wednesday 18.76 points or 0.75 per cent higher at 2,515.98. Leading the index up with gains of more than 2 per cent each were Mapletree Industrial Trust, Singtel and Mapletree Logistics Trust.

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On the other end of the spectrum, the biggest index laggards on Wednesday were Sembcorp Industries and Capital Integrated Commercial Trust, which declined by more than 1 per cent each.

Also among the index losers were heavyweight property developers City Developments and CapitaLand, which declined 0.93 per cent and 0.39 per cent respectively.

City Developments said on Wednesday that it has appointed Deloitte & Touche Financial Advisory Services as its external financial advisor to evaluate and review its investment in China's Sincere Property Group.

Separately, CapitaLand announced on Tuesday evening that its chairman Ng Kee Choe will retire as chairman at the company's annual general meeting scheduled for April 2021. Mr Ng has been chairman of CapitaLand since 2012.

Earlier this week, shares in CapitaLand hit an eight-year low.

Across the broader market, advancers and decliners were almost evenly matched at 208 to 205. The most actively traded counter was Jiutian Chemical, which had nearly 406.7 million shares changing hands. The stock rose 5.16 per cent, and closed at S$0.102.

UOB Kay Hian put a "buy" call on the stock on Tuesday, arguing that the company's earnings will get a boost from higher selling prices for its chemical products. The brokerage has a target price of S$0.16.

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