SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - The huge US$1.9 trillion Biden stimulus package spurred investors to push the local market higher for the third straight session on Friday (Jan 15).
The optimism sent the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) up 0.16 per cent or 4.87 points to 3,004.87 with gainers trumping losers 289 to 202 on trade of 4.2 billion securities worth $1.54 billion.
United States President-elect Joe Biden's bumper economic rescue plan did little to lift sentiment elsewhere in Asia. With the exception of Hong Kong, benchmarks in Tokyo, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta ended in negative territory. Wall Street also ended modestly lower on Thursday.
IG senior market strategist Pan Jingyi said: "To some extent, most of this optimism had been priced in, but the huge figures had also invited some contemplation as to whether the necessary bipartisan support will materialise."
Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley added that excitement over the proposed stimulus is being tempered by challenges of passing the package through Congress.
The best-performer on the STI was Jardine Strategic Holding, gaining 3 per cent to US$27.04.
Transport-related Covid-19 recovery plays fared relatively well too, emerging among the top 10 stocks on the blue-chip index.
Singapore Airlines gained 0.9 per cent to $4.39, Sats was up 0.8 per cent to $4.04 while ComfortDelGro rose 0.6 per cent to $1.72.
The bottom dwellers were Singapore Exchange on $9.87 and Singtel at $2.49 - both recording declines of 0.8 per cent.
The STI's most active was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which closed flat at $1.07 after over 41 million shares changed hands.
It had announced on Thursday night that a wholly owned unit would take a 30 per cent stake in a liquefied natural gas supply chain joint venture for six million yuan (S$1.23 million).