Investor optimism lifts Singapore shares, STI up 1.3%

Straits Times Index gained 1.29 per cent or 36.44 points to close at 2,858.14. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore shares climbed on Monday (Dec 14) as investor optimism was boosted by positive news both locally and globally.

Amid the extension of deadline for post-Brexit trade talks, continued developments on the vaccine front and in anticipation of the authorities announcing, after the market closed, that Singapore will further ease some safe-distancing measures, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) gained 1.29 per cent or 36.44 points to close at 2,858.14.

At 5pm on Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told the nation phase three of Singapore's reopening will start on Dec 28.

The maximum limit on social gatherings will be raised from five to eight people.

Also, Singapore has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with the first shipment estimated to arrive by the end of this month.

Among the STI constituents, ComfortDelGro was the top gainer, rising 3.64 per cent or S$0.06 to close at S$1.71.

A close second was CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust, which climbed 3.35 per cent or S$0.07 to close at S$2.16.

"Amid expectations of improvement in private consumption, we favour initiating positions in cyclical growth stories with greater exposure to domestic demand recovery, while remaining cautious on global cyclicals that are vaccine dependent," said RHB analyst Shekhar Jaiswal in a note .

He added the STI is expected to "reverse its under-performance relative to Asian peers in 2021".

Advancers outnumbered decliners 265 to 180, with 2.17 billion securities worth S$1.31 billion changing hands.

Across the region, Asian markets ended the day mixed.

South Korean as well as Hong Kong shares fell amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Tokyo stocks closed higher. The Nikkei 225 Index advanced 0.3 per cent or 79.92 points to end at 26,732.44.

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