Bulls And Bears

STI closes higher amid improved job market numbers

• Key regional markets, except S. Korea, also post gains • Sembcorp Marine is most active counter, up 10% • SIA, Sats skid after benefiting earlier from travel bubble news

Local shares closed higher yesterday after a sluggish start in response to a tepid Wall Street performance overnight.

Investors in the United States kept it low-key on Tuesday ahead of comments from the Federal Reserve due later today and more news on corporate results.

That kept traders here on the defensive, but the Straits Times Index managed to recover some poise to eke out a gain of 5.13 points, or 0.16 per cent, to wrap up trading at 3,219.56 points.

Gainers outnumbered losers 257 to 220 on a turnover of 1.79 billion shares worth $1.19 billion.

Investors may have been lifted by the improved job market numbers out yesterday, while key markets in the region, with the exception of South Korea, mostly posted gains, with some driven by favourable macroeconomic data.

Sembcorp Marine traded heavily, with 258.6 million shares transacted, making it the most active counter. The stock closed at 22 cents, a gain of 10 per cent, despite no reported news recently on the offshore and marine player.

Singapore Airlines (SIA), ground-handler and in-flight caterer Sats and SIA Engineering skidded after having benefited on Tuesday from news reports about the air-travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong. SIA closed at $5.15, down 2.83 per cent, Sats fell 1.44 per cent to $4.12 and SIA Engineering fell 1.28 per cent to $2.32.

South Korea's Kospi Index was a standout from its Asia-Pacific peers amid a sell-off in heavyweight stocks ahead of an expected change in policy on short selling next month. The benchmark lost 1.06 per cent.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.44 per cent, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.42 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng made a 0.45 per cent gain.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Index was 0.21 per cent higher, while Malaysian shares inched up 0.11 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2021, with the headline 'STI closes higher amid improved job market numbers'. Subscribe