Bull And Bears

Singapore shares rally on hope of US stimulus

Mood mostly upbeat in region, with Aussie index hitting highest level since March 6

Most key regional share markets rallied yesterday on the back of optimism that a new United States stimulus package would be passed before the Nov 3 presidential election.

Speculation that President Donald Trump could be prepared to agree a deal exceeding US$1 trillion (S$1.36 trillion) lifted investors' mood, while expectations of further gains on Wall Street further ignited buying interest.

The Straits Times Index (STI) was among the winners as it kicked off the week by rising 10.55 points or 0.42 per cent to 2,543.57 points.

Gainers beat losers 220 to 198 with 1.59 billion shares worth $945.6 million traded.

Ground handler and inflight caterer Sats was one of the STI's better performers, delivering a 0.99 per cent gain to $3.06.

The firm has accelerated plans to diversify its revenue streams out of aviation and its domestic market of Singapore amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

STI debutant Keppel DC Reit had a flattish performance at $3.04 at the closing bell.

Thai Beverage was the most active STI constituent with a trading volume of 40.38 million shares, but it closed unchanged at 58 cents.

Regional markets were generally in an upbeat mood. Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 1.11 per cent on bargain hunting while Malaysia shares rose 0.95 per cent.

Australia's ASX 200 index gained 0.85 per cent to reach its highest level since March 6, and the Aussie dollar headed north as well.

The gains come as Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state, is allowed more freedom of movement as the government eyes the reopening of restaurants and retail stores by Nov 1.

"In terms of economic recovery, the first step is obviously (to) get the economy moving again and that involves scaling back (Covid-19) restrictions," said CommSec market analyst James Tao.

The Australian index has risen 7.6 per cent over the past 11 sessions.

South Korea's Kospi was up 0.22 per cent. DS Investment & Securities analyst Na Jeong-hwan noted that while the market was buoyed by hopes of a US fiscal package, the weaker-than-expected Chinese economic growth data capped gains.

That data - China's third-quarter economic numbers missed expectations, having risen only by 4.9 per cent - left Shanghai's key index as one of the rare few that ended in the red yesterday.

•Additional information from Reuters

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2020, with the headline 'S'pore shares rally on hope of US stimulus'. Subscribe