STI up 0.6% on the back of better economic news

The Straits Times Index was up 0.6 per cent or 18.73 points to 3,164.82. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Local shares went north on Thursday (May 27) after the Vesak Day break on the back of better economic news.

The data showed that receipts for Singapore's services industry had eased further to a dip of 1.5 per cent year on year on the first three months of the year, an improvement from the revised 7.6 per cent decline in the fourth quarter.

The numbers helped send the benchmark Straits Times Index up 0.6 per cent or 18.73 points to 3,164.82. Gainers trumped losers 297 to 195 with 2.61 billion shares worth $3.39 billion done.

Regional markets were mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 per cent, the Hang Seng shed 0.2 per cent while the Kospi lost 0.1 per cent. At the other end of the spectrum, the KLCI added 1 per cent and the Jakarta Composite 0.5 per cent.

Mr Ramkumar Rasaratnam, head of sustainable equity at Rosenberg Equities, said that while global markets are optimistic on the back of vaccines, the potential for new strains and any hindrance to economies fully reopening is "likely to temper investor sentiment".

"We expect the recent support for low-quality investments to be short-lived once the initial vaccine euphoria fades," he added.

Jardine Matheson Holdings was the biggest gainer here, up 0.7 per cent to US$64.49. Tech names were also among the advancers. Venture Corporation added 2 per cent to $19.07, iFast gained 4.7 per cent to $8.03 and Nanofilm Technologies rose 4.6 per cent to close at $5.41.

Southern Alliance Mining was again the top loser after booking the biggest losses on Tuesday. It fell 8.6 per cent to 90 cents. Other decliners included Great Eastern, which fell 0.3 per cent to $22.70.

Sembcorp Marine was the most heavily traded, rising 6.2 per cent to 20.5 cents, with 174.5 million shares changing hands.

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