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STI up 1.5%, sentiment boosted by Biden transition and hopes of economic recovery

SINGAPORE shares advanced on Tuesday following news of President Donald Trump giving the green light for President-elect Joe Biden to proceed with his White House transition, boosting the already-positive sentiment from prospects of an economic recovery.

Oanda Asia-Pacific senior market analyst Jeffery Halley said: "Markets love certainty and the move by Trump overnight partially removes ambiguity over the Presidential succession."

With a Biden administration "expected to be much less isolationist", and the hope that the US will re-engage on global trade and improve relations with China, it will also be positive for Asia, he said.

Markets elsewhere in Asia were also buoyed by the news. With the exception of Kuala Lumpur, key benchmarks in Hong Kong, Seoul, Japan and Jakarta ended in positive territory.

The Singapore Straits Times Index (STI) rose 1.5 per cent or 42.85 points to 2,891.63. Across the broader market, gainers outnumbered losers 327 to 184, after 3.98 billion securities worth S$2.04 billion changed hands.

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Transport-related counters were the best-performing on the blue chip index for the day. Singapore Airlines gained 8.4 per cent or S$0.34 to S$4.41. Following behind was Sats, which rose 7.4 per cent or S$0.30 to S$4.38.

The third-best-performing stock on the STI was ComfortDelGro, which edged up 7.3 per cent or S$0.12 to S$1.77. It was also the most active counter on the STI; more than 53.7 million shares changed hands.

OCBC Investment Research said in a report on Tuesday that ComfortDelGro is expected to be a beneficiary of the easing movement restrictions. Meanwhile, its "net gearing has remained low, and it is in a position to undertake acquisitions when the opportunity arises", noted the report.

At the bottom of the table was Jardine Cycle & Carriage, which sank 2.7 per cent or S$0.58 to S$21.24.

Among other active counters was Sembcorp Marine, which was the second most heavily traded by volume on the Singapore bourse. The stock gained 12 per cent or 1.8 Singapore cents to 16.8 cents after around 617.2 million changed hands. The Business Times reported on Monday that the surge in share price was due in part to "beaten down cyclicals", a rise in crude prices and broader vaccine optimism.

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