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STI ends losing streak, rebounds by 4.3%

THE Straits Times Index (STI) put an end to its losing streak on Friday, gaining 99.74 points or 4.3 per cent to close at 2,410.74.

It had opened up 1 per cent in the morning and built on those gains throughout the day. This comes as Wall Street finished its session higher after a series of unprecedented blockbuster government and central bank measures were announced in a bid to cushion the impact of Covid-19 on the economy.

Among those are the United States’ trillion-dollar stimulus plan on top of Federal Reserve interest rate cuts to ease some liquidation pressure on asset markets and improve market sentiment. 

“Fiscal stimulus has been geared to shore up liquidity conditions in financial markets and for corporates,” said Stephen Innes, chief markets strategist at AxiCorp.

While it is generating a positive effect for the markets, he warned that it may be the calm before storm as the “nasty impact on corporate solvency will become more evident in the weeks ahead of when the demand shock filters through to the real economy”.

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Having said that, Singapore's blue-chip index is enjoying the much-needed reprieve with advancers outpacing the decliners 376 to 142 with 2.02 billion securities worth S$2.51 billion changing hands. Twenty six of the STI’s 30 components ended in the black.

Among the most actively traded stocks and one of the biggest gainers was Genting Singapore, which rose 13.7 per cent or S$0.07 to S$0.58. DBS analyst Jason Sum noted in a report on Friday that the stock’s “valuation is simply too cheap to ignore”.

This is despite DBS slashing its FY20 and FY21 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) estimates on Genting Singapore by another 26 per cent and 6 per cent respectively on the back of the decline in tourism.

Banking stocks also recorded strong gains. DBS Group Holdings gained S$0.76 or 4.4 per cent to S$18.16; United Overseas Bank rose S$0.61 or 3.3 per cent to S$18.96, while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp edged up S$0.28 or 3.5 per cent to S$8.36.

CGS-CIMB has also upgraded OCBC to “add” from “hold” as the bank’s shares now trade close to their 0.8 price-to-book value ratio seen during the global financial crisis (GFC), having dipped 27 per cent year-to-date.

It also noted the lender’s share price was more resilient than that of its peers during the GFC and Asian financial crisis. But OCBC is not spared from the overall target price cut of the banking sector with the brokerage lowering its target price to S$9.04 from S$11.05.

The Singapore bourse's performance was in line with other equity benchmarks in the region including Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan.

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