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STI up 1.65% on better data from the US and China

LAST month's better-than-expected job data in the United States and smaller-than-expected export decline reported by China on Monday helped lift most Asia's stock markets, including Singapore's benchmark the Straits Times Index (STI).

The STI, with 45.47 points added or up 1.65 per cent to end at 2,796.97 points, continued last week's upward momentum.

Singapore's market performance was in line with several regional key indices; Jakarta Composite Index's 5,070.56 points leading with gains of 2.48 per cent. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.37 per cent to 23,178.10 points - its highest closing level since Feb 21.

Last Friday, the US surprised with 2.5 million job additions in May; China's exports were down 3.3 per cent in May, smaller than an expected drop of 6.5 per cent, inspiring confidence that the mainland is on the road of recovery.

Pan Jingyi, IG market analyst, was quick to caution against reading too much into any single month-on-month change, particularly during such times of uncertainty - although little looks to be in the way of the positive momentum this week, including the Federal Reserve's meeting where little surprises are expected, she said.

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United Overseas Bank was one of the best STI performers, up S$0.66 or 3 per cent to S$22.66. The bank said at its annual general meeting last Friday that it is targeting to maintain its 50 per cent dividend payout ratio this year amid the challenging business climate, subject to the Common Equity Tier 1 ratio staying above 13.5 per cent.

Venture Corp was at the bottom of the STI performance table, after shedding S$0.67 0r 4.01 per cent to end at S$16.02.

The most heavily-traded STI stock was national carrier Singapore Airlines, as its newly issued shares from a recent massive rights exercise began trading on Monday. The counter was down $0.04 or 0.92 per cent at S$4.29, with about 44.15 million shares having changed hands.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 315 to 186 for the day on the Singapore Exchange, with 2.17 billion shares worth S$2.10 billion traded. 

Markets in Malaysia and Australia were closed for a holiday on Monday.

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