Bulls And Bears

RCEP trade pact gives boost to Asian stock markets

Bourses in HK, Tokyo, KL and Seoul end higher/STI adds 1.35%; gainers outnumber losers 304 to 171/Genting S'pore, Sats, Keppel Corp among top performers

News of the freshly inked Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership 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 yesterday.

The Hang Seng Index rose 0.86 per cent, while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index gained 2.05 per cent.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index ended 0.63 per cent up, while South Korea's Kospi closed up 1.97 per cent.

The Straits Times Index (STI) added 36.61 points, or 1.35 per cent, to 2,748, driven by shares of Genting Singapore, Sats and Keppel Corp, up 8.05 per cent, 5 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively.

Shares of integrated resort operator Genting Singapore rose to 80.5 cents, boosted by a sharp quarter-on-quarter turnaround in its bottom line. Its third-quarter revenue and earnings also beat market expectations.

Sats shares, which rose to $3.99, are still riding a positive momentum on news late last week that the ground handler is planning investments in its cargo business as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to drive demand for online shopping and pharmaceuticals.

Keppel Corp's shares rose to $5.05, which Bloomberg suggested could be "overbought" territory.

Last Saturday, the conglomerate said its associate firm Floatel International had successfully extended its agreement with bond holders 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.

Gainers outnumbered losers 304 to 171 on trade of 2.36 billion shares worth $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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2020, with the headline 'RCEP trade pact gives boost to Asian stock markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe