Bulls And Bears

STI hits 3,000-point level for first time since last March

  • Hopes for US stimulus plan help drive local index up 0.76%
  • City Developments and UOL Group the best performers
  • Shares end higher in Tokyo, HK, Seoul but fall in KL, Jakarta

It has been a long time coming for battered investors, but the local market finally touched the 3,000-point level yesterday, for the first time since last March.

Traders looking to a big spending package from incoming United States president Joe Biden helped drive the Straits Times Index (STI) up 0.76 per cent, or 22.49 points, to close dead on 3,000.

Gainers outnumbered losers 276 to 203 on trade of 2.52 billion shares worth $1.27 billion.

It was a mixed bag elsewhere in Asia. Shares in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended higher while Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta fell.

"With President-elect Biden shooting for the moon on stimulus, and China data suggesting its economic juggernaut remains on track, financial markets should enter the last part of the week in a positive frame of mind," said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

Another boost could come from positive preliminary data from Johnson & Johnson's vaccine trials, said Mr Halley, adding that this might trigger another share surge.

The STI's best performers were property developers City Developments, which gained 3.7 per cent to $7.55, and UOL Group, up 2.5 per cent to $7.91.

Wilmar International was close behind, edging up 2.4 per cent to $5.17. Maybank Kim Eng recently raised its target price from $5.40 to $6.80 in anticipation of a number of potential upside surprises for the agri-business group.

These include a rise in palm oil prices and an improvement in its food product business in China as the economy picks up.

At the bottom of the table was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding. Its shares dipped 1.8 per cent to $1.07. It was also the most active counter on the blue-chip index, with more than 47.9 million shares changing hands.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2021, with the headline 'STI hits 3,000-point level for first time since last March'. Subscribe