STI leads region with 1.1% rise on the back of vaccine optimism

The Straits Times Index's top performer was Singapore Airlines which rose 4.9 per cent to $4.06.
The Straits Times Index's top performer was Singapore Airlines which rose 4.9 per cent to $4.06.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - The Straits Times Index (STI) continued its ascent yesterday, following on the heels of Wall Street, where the S&P hit a record high overnight, as well as positive sentiment on the early success of Moderna's vaccine results. Singapore Exchange market strategist Geoff Howie said: "Markets are taking stock in the fact that the big vaccine news is walking the walk."

Singapore's benchmark index led the region with its 30.55-point, or 1.1 per cent, incline to 2,778.55, as 3.21 billion securities worth $1.75 billion changed hands. Advancers outnumbered decliners 284 to 199.

The index's top performer was Singapore Airlines. Its shares rose 4.9 per cent to $4.06. The group yesterday said it was doubling the limit of its multicurrency medium-term note programme to $10 billion, to raise funds for general corporate or working capital purposes.

The worst index performer was Ascendas Reit, which finished the day 2.6 per cent lower at $2.97. Its units had started declining since it announced a $1.2 billion equity fund raising to finance potential and proposed acquisitions in the US, Europe and Australia.

Regional indices were mostly up. The Hang Seng Index added 0.13 per cent; Malaysia's KLCI gained 0.66 per cent. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.42 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite dipped 0.21 per cent. The most active counter of the day was LionGold, whose shares rose $0.001 to $0.002 apiece, on a volume of 798 million shares, after it posted slightly improved earnings of $1.35 million for its first quarter ended Sept 30 last week.

Mr Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said that after big gains for risky assets following the US election result, the announcement of a potentially successful Covid-19 vaccine provided a second catalyst to spur markets higher, with most of the funds rotating into the laggard, cyclical and "reopening" sectors.