STI up 3.67% as investors pivot towards pandemic-hit sectors on vaccine hopes

The Straits Times Index ended the day up 3.67 per cent or 95.64 points to 2,705. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore shares rallied on Tuesday, as investors scooped up shares in sectors hard hit by the pandemic, following positive vaccine news from drugmakers.

The local blue chip benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) ended the day up 3.67 per cent or 95.64 points to 2,705. Across the broader market, gainers outpaced losers 304 to 218, with 2.81 billion securities worth $3.06 billion changing hands.

Said Singapore Exchange market strategist Geoff Howie: "The overarching trade today was rotation from technology and medical equipment plays into the bigger and broader financials, real estate, industrials and consumer sectors."

Ms Margaret Yang, a strategist at DailyFX, said that if the vaccine proves to be safe, effective and widely used, business activities are likely resume more quickly. Digital facilities, while still relevant, may lose their edge. "The rally in the energy, financial and industrial sectors, alongside a fall in technology shares, reflected this expectation," she said.

"There could be a solid rebound in demand for travel, tourism, leisure, luxury goods, restaurant and other brick-and-mortar services, while the convenience brought about by online meetings and digital facilities will continue to stay with us - but perhaps to a less extent," she added.

In Singapore, aviation and travel-related stocks registered significant gains. Among the index securities, Singapore Airlines was the best-performing, with shares climbing 14 per cent to $3.91. Ground handler and food solutions provider Sats followed close behind, surging 11.5 per cent to $3.50.

The most heavily traded by volume was Genting Singapore, which gained 6.5 per cent to 73.5 cents after around 100.2 million shares changed hands.

At the bottom of the table was electronics manufacturing services firm Venture Corporation, which dipped 7.1 per cent or $1.46 to $19.26.

Many healthcare and pharmaceutical plays, favoured since the onset of the pandemic, ended the day lower, but were among the most active counters.

Singapore-listed property developer and soon-to-be glove maker Aspen Holdings shed 14.8 per cent to 26 cents. Glove manufacturer UG Healthcare fell 17 per cent to 80.5 cents, while Medtecs International was down 12.8 per cent to $1.02.

The narrative was similar elsewhere in Asia; gains were led by companies that bore the impact of the virus outbreak. Key benchmarks for Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur all ended Tuesday higher.

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