Singapore stocks close higher on Wednesday, STI up 0.6%

Talk of vaccines continue to fuel investor optimism. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Local investors took the cue from rises on Wall Street overnight on the back of vaccine advances and stimulus talks to send shares higher on Wednesday (Dec 16).

The improved sentiment sent the benchmark Straits Times Index up 0.6 per cent or 16.08 points to 2,872.80 with gainers trumping losers 268 to 163 on trade of 2.29 billion shares worth $1.25 billion.

Talk of vaccines continue to fuel investor optimism but some experts have flagged the need to be cautious as the Covid-19 pandemic is still upending certain countries.

Axi's chief global market strategist, Mr Stephen Innes, noted that there are chances of significantly extended lockdowns in several countries and this had not necessarily been priced in by markets.

"There is a gap to be bridged between now and when experts expect herd immunity - in the middle of the second quarter at the earliest," he added.

"Mini-lockdowns or circuit breakers do not achieve lasting control of spike cases. It is becoming increasingly likely that we will see extended lockdowns for most of the first quarter."

Wall Street was still focused on the positive with all indices ending up around 1.2 per cent.

Venture Corporation was the biggest advancer on the local market, gaining 4.3 per cent to $19.52.

Genting Singapore added 4.1 per cent to finish at 89 cents. Maybank Kim Eng raised its target price after analysts noted that Singapore's Phase 3 reopening will be positive for the company.

The lenders were also among the top gainers. DBS added 0.4 per cent to $25.56, UOB gained 0.4 per cent to $22.99 while OCBC rose 1.2 per cent to $10.23.

On the other hand, Jardine Strategic Holdings and Jardine Matheson Holdings were the biggest losers, reversing their gains on Tuesday.

Regional markets mostly finished higher. Malaysian shares advanced 0.4 per cent, Jakarta gained 1.8 per cent and the Hang Seng rose 1 per cent.

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