Singapore stocks finish stronger amid 'relief rally' across region

The key Straits Times Index rose 15.74 points, or 0.5 per cent, to finish at 3,147.14.
The key Straits Times Index rose 15.74 points, or 0.5 per cent, to finish at 3,147.14.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore shares closed higher on Monday (July 12) amid a "relief rally" across the region, although analysts warned not to rule out another roller-coaster trading ahead, given persistent risks, especially the rising Covid-19 outbreak in many parts of the world.

The key Straits Times Index rose 15.74 points, or 0.5 per cent, to finish at 3,147.14, to post its second straight day of gains. The upbeat note ushers a week when Singapore looks forward to an easing of curbs, including dining in for groups of up to five people.

Key gauges in the region, except for Malaysia, all posted gains. Japan was up 2.25 per cent; Hong Kong rose 0.6 per cent and China 0.7 per cent, while Taiwan and South Korea both advanced 0.9 per cent.

Asian equities were also buoyed by policy easing in China and Wall Street's positive showing last Friday.

This week, traders' attention will turn to the second-quarter reporting season in the United States that kicks off with the big banks, namely JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Turnover in the local bourse came in at 1.26 billion units worth $914.40 million. Gainers outpaced losers, with 257 counters up and 225 down. Gains were led by local banking trio DBS Bank, UOB and OCBC Bank, as well as Singtel, which collectively added 13.8 index points to the STI.

Sembcorp Marine was the most active, with 113 million shares worth $13.6 million done. The counter fell 0.2 cent, or 1.63 per cent, to 12.1 cents. The offshore and marine firm said on Monday that its soon-to-be released first-half results could see losses in the region of more than half a billion dollars owing to full provisions for increased manpower cost amid a labour crunch.

iX Biopharma rose 0.5 cent, or 2.13 per cent, to 24 cents. The speciality pharmaceutical company said on Monday it is seeking to spin off and list its pharmaceutical and medicinal cannabis business in Hong Kong.