Strong stock showing pushes STI up

The STI moved up 0.91 per cent to 3,122.2 on Feb 22, 2017.
The STI moved up 0.91 per cent to 3,122.2 on Feb 22, 2017. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - Singapore equities moved into positive territory on Wednesday, cheered by stellar gains in the United States.

The Straits Times Index (STI) added 28.01 points, or 0.91 per cent, to 3,122.2, snapping a two-day losing streak. Turnover across the bourse came up to 2.59 billion shares worth S$1.47 billion.

The strong showing came as Wall Street resumed trading after a holiday on a high note, rising 0.58 per cent to a new record high, thanks partly to a set of encouraging earnings from blue chip stocks.

Other markets in Asia were up as well. Hong Kong advanced 0.99 per cent, Shanghai added 0.24 per cent and Jakarta grew 0.33 per cent. Tokyo was flat, edging down 0.01 per cent.

All eyes will be on the US Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes today for fresh insights into the Fed's take on interest rates, economic performance, as well as president Donald Trump's policies.

Recent comments from Fed members have raised the likelihood of a March rate hike among investors.

At home, all three local banks played a huge role in pushing the STI higher, with United Overseas Bank jumping 45 cents or 2.1 per cent to S$21.77.

OCBC Bank rose 18 cents or 1.9 per cent to S$9.66 and DBS Group Holdings grew 29 cents or 1.6 per cent to S$18.75.

Moody's Investors Service noted in an earlier report that the latest financial results of the three lenders point to a further decline in profitability and mixed asset quality performance, "but pressure on credit costs and net interest margins should subside in 2017, providing support to profitability".

Commodity trader Noble Group was the day's most traded counter, soaring 2.5 cents or 10.9 per cent to 25.5 cents on 260.8 million shares done.

Other stocks that were in active play included Golden Agri-Resources, flat at 40 cents, and Thai Beverage, which climbed half a cent or 0.5 per cent to 96.5 cents.