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STI up for third straight session on Singapore's economic recovery hopes

IT WAS a third consecutive day of trading gains for the Singapore benchmark Straits Times Index (STI), which kept up its momentum, adding 10.04 points or 0.36 per cent to 2,788.59. This was despite the retreat of US stocks on Tuesday.

Gainers outnumbered losers 243 to 199, while some 2.1 billion securities worth S$1.56 billion changed hands.

This was as DBS published an optimistic outlook for Singapore's 2021 economy, on the back of an anticipated recovery in gross domestic product (GDP), continued accommodative monetary policy and another "highly expansionary" fiscal budget next year.

Real estate developers CapitaLand and City Developments hogged the top spots on the index. Shares of CapitaLand added S$0.07 or 2.39 per cent to S$3.00; those of City Developments gained S$0.14 or 1.88 per cent to S$7.58.

CapitaLand on Wednesday said it had obtained its first three green loans in India totalling 17 billion rupees (S$323 million) from DBS Bank India and HSBC India to finance the development of its green-certified business park developments in Chennai, Gurgaon and Pune.

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As for City Developments, OCBC Investment Research on Wednesday said that while it is keeping its "buy" rating on the developer, there could be some near-term overhang on its share price until findings from its external financial advisor on its investment in Sincere Property Group is disclosed by year-end. The developer's shares have been on a gradual recovery since November.

The biggest losers on the index were the Jardine duo - Jardine Matheson which lost US$1.25 or 2.36 per cent to US$51.71, and Jardine Strategic, which lost US$0.60 or 2.38 per cent to US$24.59.

Regionally, markets finished mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.49 per cent, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.22 per cent, but Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.1 per cent and Malaysia's KLCI lost 0.34 per cent.

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for the Asia-Pacific at Oanda, described Asian markets as "drifting" and "moving into wait-and-see mode", but showing "resilience" so far, likely because of the mostly positive data from the region, and expectation of a 2021 recovery.

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