The Straits Times Index (STI) rose for a third consecutive day yesterday to close 1.04 per cent, or 26.41 points, higher at 2,559.10, buoyed by positive updates on the Covid-19 vaccine front and speculation over the progress of a US stimulus package.
About 1.63 billion securities worth $1.32 billion changed hands yesterday. Gainers outnumbered losers 238 to 193.
DBS Research analysts wrote in a note: "We think the despair phase of this Covid-19 bear market started on June 10, when the STI was at 2,800. This is typical of the last phase of the bear market, characterised by worsening headline news, earnings losses, 'no end in sight' negative sentiment and investors' disinterest in stocks.
"Historically, the stock market bottoms out when GDP (gross domestic product) contraction is at its steepest. This is likely to have occurred in the second quarter... We expect a gradual recovery going forward."
Local bank shares perked up after DBS Group reported a second-quarter net profit that was slightly ahead of expectations; earnings of United Overseas Bank (UOB), however, missed expectations.
DBS shares rose 2.87 per cent to $20.40. UOB rose 1.75 per cent to $19.76 as punters took heart in the bank's conservative provisioning, while OCBC Bank rose 1.85 per cent to $8.80.
Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (YZJ) gained 3.5 Singapore cents, or 3.74 per cent, to 97 cents on a volume of 50.2 million after it reported that yard activity had returned to full capacity in the second quarter, following the easing of Covid-19 measures.
Citi analyst Kwok Wei Chang has a target price of $1.35 for YZJ.
"Current valuations at eight times price-to-earnings and 0.6 times price-to-book provide an attractive entry point. Moreover, YZJ is set to see a catch-up in earnings in the second half, while boasting superior fundamentals to regional shipyards amid global headwinds," he said.
Top active QT Vascular rose 0.1 cent, or 16.67 per cent, to 0.7 cent, on a volume of 102.6 million.
Wilmar International, Tuan Sing Holdings, QAF and Accordia Golf Trust have called for trading halts.
Elsewhere in the region, the Hang Seng Index fell 0.69 per cent and the KLSE climbed 1.30 per cent. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.26 per cent and the Nikkei fell 0.43 per cent.
Oil prices edged higher into the US$45-per-barrel range after a larger-than-expected decline in US crude inventories was reported.