Bulls And Bears

Regional bourses up on reduced virus fears

Investors pick up from Wall St lead; mood lifted by hopes of further stimulus

Regional markets continued to bounce back from their early-week losses yesterday with the local bourse in rude good health.

Investors focused on picking up from Wall Street's lead overnight on the back of reduced fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

"Asian equities traded bid (yesterday) after a chorus of 'keep calm buy stocks' was heard echoing across dealing rooms in Asia, after China noted additional cases and deaths related to the virus declined," said AxiCorp chief market strategist Stephen Innes.

Investor sentiment was also lifted by hopes of further fiscal stimulus, added CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang.

"Investors tend to believe that central banks and policymakers have measures to stimulate the economy during and post the public health crisis," she said.

Singapore investors were in an especially buoyant mood, sending the Straits Times Index up 47.8 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 3,223.37 - its best single-day jump this year. None of the benchmark's 30 counters closed in the red.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, Australia, China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan all ended in the black - but they paled in comparison to the gains here. On the other hand, Malaysia was lower.

Taiwan's Taiex Index was the best performer of the group, adding 0.9 per cent.

Trading volume stood at 1.9 billion shares worth $1.66 billion - with gainers outpacing losers 297 to 128.

The local banks had a strong session. OCBC leapt 2.3 per cent to $11.02, UOB added 1.6 per cent to $26.18 and DBS closed 1.3 per cent higher at $25.42.

ST Engineering built on its recent uptrend, advancing 1.2 per cent to $4.25 after signing a slew of deals on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow.

Singapore-focused property developers had their best session since last Friday's announcement by the Government that they can apply to be exempted from the Qualifying Certificate.

City Developments jumped 3.8 per cent to $11.26 while UOL climbed 1 per cent to $8.25.

First Sponsor Group edged up 0.8 per cent to $1.34 after posting a 63 per cent jump in fourth-quarter profit to $94.9 million.

Oil prices rose as concerns over falling Chinese demand faded. Oil proxies ended the day up on the back of renewed optimism.

GSS Energy gained 17.1 per cent to 10.3 cents, AusGroup closed up 5.1 per cent to 4.1 cents, while Rex International advanced 2.4 per cent to 17.4 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2020, with the headline 'Regional bourses up on reduced virus fears'. Print Edition | Subscribe