S'pore market sees uptick despite overnight dip on Wall Street

The STI closed at 3,109.81 points, up 0.18 per cent, on May 20, 2021. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Local shares made modest gains on Thursday as investors remained unmoved by Wall Street's overnight dip, as the United States Federal Reserve considered cutting back central bank support.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,109.81 points, up 0.18 per cent, or 5.6 points. Gainers outnumbered losers 239 to 199, with 1.58 billion shares worth $1.34 billion changing hands.

Key regional markets were a mixed bag. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.5 per cent, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index shed 0.33 per cent and Seoul's Kospi dipped 0.34 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 ended 0.19 per cent higher while the Jakarta Composite Index rose 0.64 per cent. Australian shares rallied on robust jobs data to rise 1.3 per cent.

Minutes from the US Fed's meeting last month suggest that discussions on tapering government bond purchases could begin "at some point" in upcoming meetings.

IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said while several central banks elsewhere have already slowed asset purchases in the light of the improving economic landscape, signs of tightening monetary policy "tend to cause jitters" for markets.

The next Federal Open Market Committee meeting in the middle of next month therefore remains a key focus for investors.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and Singapore Airlines (SIA) were the top-performing STI stocks.

Yangzijiang edged up 1.4 per cent to $1.45 while SIA advanced 1.3 per cent to $4.76.

The carrier had announced that it will issue additional mandatory convertible bonds to raise a further $6.2 billion, despite a smaller year-on-year quarterly loss.

Wilmar International was at the bottom of the table, falling 1.3 per cent to $4.76.

Thai Beverage was the most heavily traded STI stock by volume, ending flat at 70 cents after about 41.6 million shares changed hands.

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