A day after unexpected misses in trade data scared investors into retreat, China's government swept cheer back into markets yesterday with indications it will inject stimulus into its economy to counter growth pressures.
The National Development and Reform Commission said it aims to achieve "a good start" in the first quarter, and senior economic officials said China plans to cut taxes especially for small businesses and the manufacturing sector.
People's Bank of China deputy governor Zhu Hexin said China will avoid a "flood" of liquidity and instead maintain a stable macro-leverage ratio.
Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) climbed steadily yesterday, moderating towards the closing bell to end 38.84 points, or 1.22 per cent, up at 3,212.30. Trading amounted to 1.6 billion securities worth $1.17 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 252 to 157.
Nearly all 30 STI constituents closed higher, led by counters involved in the $11 billion deal between CapitaLand and Ascendas-Singbridge.
Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust climbed five cents, or 1.87 per cent, to $2.73 after 28.9 million units were traded, while CapitaLand, CapitaLand Commercial Trust and CapitaLand Mall Trust added between 0.3 per cent and 0.6 per cent each.
The only STI counters that did not end in the black were ComfortDelGro, which closed flat at $2.14, and Jardine Matheson Holdings and Jardine Strategic Holdings, which both ended lower.
Financials were boosted by Citibank's fourth-quarter results reported in the United States on Monday. While the bank missed analysts' estimates for revenue, it beat profit expectations, soothing investors' concerns about earnings and a slowdown in the global economy, CNBC host Jim Cramer said.
The most actively traded counter was Ezion Holdings, which saw 82.7 million shares change hands. Shares of the liftboat owner and operator closed at 4.9 cents, up 0.1 cent or 2.08 per cent.
Another heavily traded stock was Genting Singapore, which picked up four cents, or 3.88 per cent, to $1.07 on volume of 68.2 million.
Shares of Vallianz Holdings retreated 0.2 cent, or 20 per cent, to 0.8 cent, with 12.8 million shares traded. This followed the company's announcement late on Monday that a vessel managed by its subsidiary, Vallianz Offshore Marine, had been damaged by a collision with a tanker on Jan 13.