Bulls And Bears

STI edges up for second day running, with all eyes on Budget

• Sentiment upbeat amid vaccine roll-outs, US stimulus package • Key gauges in Japan, HK, South Korea and Australia up as well • DBS, Singtel and Wilmar International lead gains

Singapore shares extended marginal gains for the second straight day as all eyes were on the nation's Budget 2021 which, among other things, extended the much-needed wage support to the hardest-hit sectors in the Covid-19 pandemic and provided households with more spending power.

The key Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 2,935.34 after advancing 3.82 points or 0.13 per cent. Key regional gauges in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia also chalked up gains; Malaysia finished in the red.

Sentiments in equities stayed upbeat, owing to the same confluence of factors from the US stimulus package, dovish central banks and vaccine roll-outs that have picked up pace. Also, while Wall Street had a day off on Monday with the Presidents' Day holiday, the futures indicated continued gains as it started the week yesterday, adding to the cheery mood.

On the local bourse, turnover stood at 2.69 billion worth $1.12 billion. Gains were led by DBS Bank, Singtel and Wilmar International.

ComfortDelGro fell one cent or 0.6 per cent to $1.57. DBS Group Research issued a "buy" rating on the counter with a 12-month target price of $1.99, saying a recovery is on the cards and the current price seems "unjustifiably low". This followed the land transport operator's financial year 2020 results, in which it announced a 77 per cent drop in net profit to $61.8 million from a year ago, as revenue fell 17 per cent to $3.22 billion owing to pandemic-led lockdowns across the countries where it operates.

Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT) closed unchanged at $1.95.

MLT's manager announced late on Monday that it had acquired five freehold logistics properties in South Korea for 280 billion won (S$336 million).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2021, with the headline 'STI edges up for second day running, with all eyes on Budget'. Subscribe