STI ekes out 0.25% gain despite return to stricter Covid-19 curb

The Straits Times Index was up 7.8 points, or 0.25 per cent.
The Straits Times Index was up 7.8 points, or 0.25 per cent.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Investors managed to drive the local market higher on Wednesday despite new restrictions on businesses and consumers in the wake of persistently higher Covid-19 infections.

No doubt Wall Street's overnight rebound from Monday's big dip boosted optimism here and helped send the Straits Times Index (STI) up 7.8 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 3,119, with losers outpacing gainers 283 to 204 on trade of 1.75 billion shares worth $1.52 billion.

IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said the new Covid-19 restrictions, allied to the recent weakness in global markets, brought about a "downward bias" for the STI.

"With the renewed restrictions, Singapore may have to continue to depend on its foreign exports demand to drive its economic recovery," he added.

However, DBS Group Research said in a note that it does not see the tighter measures as a major setback to Singapore's "pandemic-to-endemic plan" for Covid-19.

It added that there are opportunities for investors to buy domestic reopening themes on a pullback.

CapitaLand emerged as the top STI performer for the day, gaining 3.1 per cent to $4. It announced on Wednesday that its wholly owned lodging business unit had secured over 8,300 units across more than 30 properties in the first seven months of this year.

At the bottom of the table were pandemic laggards Genting Singapore, Sats and Singapore Airlines (SIA). Genting Singapore dipped 1.8 per cent to 80.5 cents. It was also the most heavily traded counter, with over 37 million shares changing hands. Sats fell 1.3 per cent to $3.78, while SIA shed 1 per cent to $4.80.

It was a mixed bag elsewhere in the region. Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.58 per cent, while the Jakarta Composite Index gained 0.21 per cent. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped 0.13 per cent, South Korea's Kospi shed 0.52 per cent, and the Kuala Lumpur Composite ended 0.23 per cent lower.