SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - News of an $800 million support package for firms and individuals affected by the latest lockdown appeared to have a positive knock-on impact on investor sentiment with local shares ending the week on an cheery note on Friday (May 28).
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 0.4 per cent or 13.73 points to 3,178.55 with gainers outnumbering losers 310 to 191 after 1.86 billion shares worth $1.73 billion changed hands.
Most regional markets also ended in the black. The KLCI inched up 0.03 per cent, the Nikkei 225 added 2.1 per cent, the Hang Seng Index gained 0.04 per cent and the Kospi rose 0.7 per cent .
Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley noted that President Joe Biden is envisaging a US$1.8 trillion deficit next year. This, he said, could have boosted investor sentiment in the region.
"Of course, what the president would like, and what he will get from Congress could be quite different. But with that level of spending, Asia appears to feel that some of that goody bag will fall their way, and Asian equity markets have risen today," he added.
But Wall Street's session overnight produced a mixed bag. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 per cent and the S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent but Nasdaq fell 0.01 per cent.
On the local bourse, iFast Corporation was the biggest gainer, adding 5.7 per cent to $8.49.
The lenders were also among the biggest gainers: DBS added 1.2 per cent to $30.41; UOB rose 1 per cent to $26.28; and while OCBC gained 0.8 per cent to $12.50.
Another notable gainer was Southern Alliance Mining, up 6.7 per cent to 96 cents, after being the biggest decliner on Tuesday and Thursday.
Haw Par Corporation was the biggest loser, shedding 2.5 per cent to $13.46 while Singapore Exchange was down 1.4 per cent at $10.39.
Jiutian Chemical led the trades, ending flat at 9.9 cents with 60.5 million shares done.