Singapore shares made a strong comeback yesterday, in tandem with markets across the region which rallied on stimulus hopes.
The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 44.39 points or 1.75 per cent to 2,577.09, snapping a two-day decline, but it was still down 53.67 points or 2 per cent for the week.
The index's performance mirrored positive sentiment on Wall Street, which shook off afternoon losses to climb 0.7 per cent on Thursday, after the European Central Bank hinted that it may bolster economic support in the coming months.
This comes amid growing uncertainty over China's economic slowdown and the crash in oil prices.
Elsewhere, Tokyo surged 5.9 per cent, its biggest single-day gain in more than four months. Shanghai rose 1.3 per cent, and Hong Kong jumped 2.9 per cent.
"Today has been a technical bounce, just after being oversold and also in congruence with oil being up," Mr Aaron Jett, vice-president of global equity research at Los Angeles-based Bel Air Investment Advisors, told Bloomberg. "There's no question there's a lot of concern... There's so much negativity out there and that's often a contrarian sign that things aren't as bad as they seem, they're overblown. If the dollar can stabilise and if oil can stabilise, I think the market can stabilise."
Commodity plays were among those leading the charge up yesterday. Noble Group rose one cent or 3.6 per cent to 29 cents, logging its second straight day of gains on heavy trade, and Golden Agri-Resources jumped one cent or 3 per cent to 34.5 cents.
Oil- and gas-related firms also gained ground, as global crude benchmark Brent rebounded from 12-year lows to around US$30 a barrel.
Sembcorp Marine rose 5.5 cents or 3.7 per cent to $1.555, and Keppel Corporation surged 22 cents or 4.6 per cent to $5.02, despite reporting a 44 per cent plunge in net profit to $404.78 million for the fourth quarter to Dec 31.
The local banks were back in the black: DBS Group Holdings edged up 10 cents or 0.7 per cent to $13.87, OCBC Bank gained 15 cents or 2 per cent to $7.72 and UOB added 55 cents or 3.2 per cent to $17.62. On the other hand, Global Logistic Properties continued on a downward trajectory, falling three cents or 1.7 per cent to $1.725.
Traders were upbeat on Frasers Centrepoint Trust, which chalked up a 3.5 cent or 1.9 per cent gain to $1.875, after announcing a higher distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.87 cents for the first quarter to Dec 31, compared with the 2.75 cent DPU a year ago.
Oil and gas exploration firm Linc Energy was the day's most active, with 75.8 million shares changing hands. The counter soared one cent or 12.8 per cent to 8.8 cents.
A total of 1.25 billion units worth $1.44 billion were traded across the bourse.