Asian indices up on RCEP deal; STI closes 1.4% higher

The boost to the STI was driven by gains in the shares of Genting Singapore, Sats and Keppel Corp. ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - News of the freshly inked Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal, a mega free trade pact backed by China that involves 14 other Asia-Pacific countries including Singapore, lent a boost to Asian stock markets - Singapore's as well - on Monday.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.86 per cent, while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 2.05 per cent. Malaysia's FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index ended 0.63 per cent up, while South Korea's benchmark Kospi closed up 1.97 per cent.

The Straits Times Index (STI) added 1.35 per cent to 2,748, driven by shares of Genting Singapore, Sats and Keppel Corp which gained 8.1 per cent, 5 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively.

Shares of integrated resort operator Genting Singapore were boosted by a sharp quarter-on-quarter turnaround in its bottom line. Its third-quarter revenue and earnings also beat market expectations, as local gamblers helped to support its earnings. They added 8.05 per cent to $0.805.

Shares of ground-handling company Sats are still riding a positive momentum on news late last week that it is planning investments in its cargo business as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to drive demand for online shopping and pharmaceuticals. They gained 5 per cent to $3.99.

Keppel Corp's shares rose 3.7 per cent to $5.05, which Bloomberg suggested could be "overbought" territory. On Saturday, the conglomerate had said its associate firm Floatel International had successfully extended its agreement with bondholders for an additional two weeks until Nov 30.

There was only one STI stock in the red. Dairy Farm International, dropped 3.99 per cent to US$4.57, coming off a peak of US$4.85 on Nov 11, the highest that they have ever been since July this year.

Gainers outnumbered losers 304 to 171 on the Singapore bourse on trade of 2.36 billon shares worth S$1.48 billion.

Correction note: The article has been amended to reflect a more accurate description of Keppel Corp as a conglomerate rather than a rig builder.

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