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STI finishes the week down 1.86%; iFAST rallies on digibank hopes

THE Straits Times Index (STI) fell 49.8 points or 1.86 per cent over the week to finish at 2,634.83 on Friday, as ample liquidity continued to lift valuations out of the depths of March's pessimism, though traders remained wary of a pullback in the event of any negative news. (see amendment note)

On Friday, the STI fell 30.83 points or 1.16 per cent on the day as investors grew more wary that a second wave of Covid-19 infections could derail the global rebound.

Losers outnumbered gainers 220 to 205, with 1.8 billion securities worth S$2.31 billion traded.  

Fintech platform iFAST Corp was the top gainer, surging 13.91 per cent or 16 Singapore cents to S$1.31 after it confirmed that it is one of nine candidates that has been shortlisted for a digital wholesale bank license by Singapore’s authorities. Up to three digital wholesale bank licenses are up for grabs.

Top loser Jardine Matheson fell US$1.07 or 2.40 per cent to US$43.49.

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UOB Kay Hian research head Adrian Loh observed in a note this week that the rally in the STI has fizzled, but the index is unlikely to plumb new depths in the near term: “With subdued near-term inflation and aggressive monetary policies globally, interest rates will likely remain very low for an extended period. This may drive market multiples higher, despite deteriorating earnings estimates. We continue to believe that equities will benefit relative to cash or bonds.”

While bargain-hunting in the blue-chip space has cooled, penny-stock punting was as lively as ever this week. Top active Rex International rose 0.4 Singapore cents or 2.22 per cent to S$0.184 on volume of 94.7 million on Friday; steel fabricator Yongnam rose 15.48 per cent or 1.3 Singapore cents to S$0.097.

Regional markets reflected cautious optimism. The Hang Seng rose 0.73 per cent, the KLSE rose 0.16 per cent, the Nikkei climbed 0.55 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.96 per cent on Friday.

Amendment note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the STI gained 25.8 points or 0.99 per cent over the week to finish at 2,634.83 on Friday. The index had in fact fallen 49.8 points or 1.86 per cent from 2,684.64 points a week ago.

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