Singapore shares ease slightly as Covid-19 vaccine optimism cools

The benchmark Straits Times Index slipped 0.02 per cent or 0.51 points to 2,711.39. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore shares eased slightly on Friday against a mixed showing by regional peers, as the initial vaccine-led optimism gave way to renewed fears of further lockdowns, following a spike in Covid-19 infections across the United States and Europe.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slipped 0.02 per cent or 0.51 points to 2,711.39. Across the broader market, advancers outpaced decliners 227 to 203 after some 1.65 billion securities worth $1.42 billion changed hands.

DailyFX strategist Margaret Yang said that vaccine optimism appeared to have cooled as investors refocused on the near-term headwinds.

With the exception of Seoul and Jakarta, key benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur ended the day in negative territory.

She said: "Profit taking could be the main theme on Friday as vaccine enthusiasm faded while pandemic risk is back to the center of the stage."

Among the STI constituents, Sats was the best-performing, gaining 5.6 per cent or $0.20 to $3.80. The ground-handler and food supplier had announced on Thursday that it is gearing up to handle vaccines for the novel coronavirus.

This was followed by Singtel, which gained 3.1 per cent or $0.07 to $2.30. It was also the most heavily traded by volume on the blue-chip index with over 61.8 million shares changing hands. The Mainboard-listed telco on Thursday posted a net profit of S$466.1 million for the six months ended Sept 30, reversing a net loss of $127 million a year ago.

Also at the top of the table was ComfortDelGro, which rose 2.7 per cent or $0.04 to $1.54. Market observers had said that the transport behemoth is a "buy" as recovery appears to be underway in Singapore and other key markets.

Singapore Airlines, however, lost steam after having ridden on the vaccine-led rally among pandemic laggards earlier this week. SIA shares fell 2.8 per cent or $0.11 to $3.83.

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