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STI in second straight session of gains on China's industrial profits jump

THE Straits Times Index (STI) rose for the second straight session on Monday, closing 10.73 points or 0.43 per cent higher at 2,483.01, after official data showed profits at China's industrial firms grew for the fourth straight month in August, and Wall Street concluded last week on a positive note.

Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp, said: "It will continue to set a more constructive tone to the start of the week," but added that Asian markets' strength could be tested over the week as more banks are ruling out fiscal stimulus in the US. "With the market running on less monetary and fiscal oxygen these days, it would not take much to turn the tide," he said.

In all on Monday, about 915.2 million securities worth S$868 million changed hands, with losers outnumbered gainers 197 to 195.

The top performer on the STI was Singapore Exchange, on news that more people were getting into the stock market, with the monthly numbers of Central Depository account openings increasing compared to the corresponding months a year ago since February this year. Its shares added S$0.20 or 2.2 per cent to S$9.20.

Top loser Jardine Matheson fell US$0.57 or 1.4 per cent to US$39.93, after the company announced a share repurchase of 146,300 shares at between US$40.17 and US$40.2822 each.

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The most active counter on the bourse was Jiutian Chemical, a Chinese company that produces dimethylformamide (DMF) and methylamine. The former chemical is said to be enjoying strong growth, driven by the increasing number of industrial applications and growing demand from the pharmaceutical sector. The company's shares added S$0.002 or 3.9 per cent to S$0.053, on a volume of 70.4 million shares traded.

Regional markets mostly finished higher. The Hang Seng Index added 1.04 per cent while the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.32 per cent and Malaysia's KLCI rose 0.17 per cent. The Shanghai Composite dipped 0.06 per cent.

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