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Straits Times Index rises 1.28 per cent to 2,595.97 points

THE Straits Times Index (STI) ended Thursday up 32.77 points or 1.28 per cent to 2,595.97 points, fuelled by strong gains in the US markets and extending a two-day upward movement.

The two Jardine conglomerates Jardine Matheson Holdings and Jardine Strategic Holdings, both trading cum-dividend, took the top two positions in the STI gainers chart. Jardine Matheson shares rose US$0.83 to US$41.40, reversing the US$0.47 loss on Wednesday; Jardine Strategic gained US$0.75 to US$20.70. 

Jardine Matheson has earlier declared a flat interim dividend of 44 US cents and Jardine Strategic, 10.5 US cents.

Sembcorp Marine, which will be hived off from STI stock Sembcorp Industries, ended two cents up at 24.5 Singapore cents on the first day of ex-rights trading. Its theoretical ex-rights price of 22.5 Singapore cents was calculated based on the closing price on Wednesday. SembMarine is raising S$2.1 billion from a highly dilutive five-for-one renounceable rights issue of up to 10.5 billion new shares at an issue price of 20 Singapore cents each.

Penny stock Jiutian Chemical was the most heavily traded stock with a trading volume of 383.4 million, adding 1.8 Singapore cents to 3.6 cents.

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Advancers outnumbered decliners 295 to 173 for the day, with 2.35 billion securities worth S$1.6 billion changed hands.

Meanwhile, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index gained 1.27 per cent to close at 1,576.42 points.  

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index soared 1.78 per cent to 23,249.61 points, the best close in six months, buoyed by overnight surges on major markets on increasing hopes for economic recovery. Neighbouring South Korea’s Kospi Index was up 0.21 per cent at 2,437.53 points, as market sentiments improved on hopes for further fiscal stimuli as well as a surprise jump in US inflation.

But Hong Kong saw the glass as half-empty instead, as the Hang Seng Index closed with small losses on concerns about the lack of progress in US stimulus talks tampered hopes for the recovery from the pandemic. The benchmark dropped 0.05 per cent to 25,230.67 points.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.67 per cent to 6,091, weighed down by a flurry of poor corporate earnings forecasts.

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