Singapore shares rise on expectations of China relaxing Covid-19 curbs

Gainers beat losers 326 to 219 with 1.6 billion shares worth $2.4 billion changing hands. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Local shares were stuck in the red for most of Wednesday’s session, but a late flurry before the final whistle allowed the bourse to close in positive territory. The modest 11th-hour rally left the Straits Times Index up 0.4 per cent, or 14.13 points, to 3,290.49. Gainers beat losers 326 to 219 with 1.6 billion shares worth $2.4 billion changing hands.

Mr Stephen Innes, managing partner of SPI Asset Management, noted that stocks were randomly teeter-tottering between wins and losses in Asia, as investors weighed zero Covid-19 developments in China. A key speech from United States Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell later on Wednesday kept minds focused as well.

Mr Innes said policymakers in China are working at full tilt in filling the stimulus package pipeline, which is bound to create a massive multiplier effect and provide a bullish wide-angle view when China’s reopening hits full swing.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) rose 0.6 per cent to $5.50, a day after it announced that it would hold a 25.1 per cent stake in Air India once it completes its merger with Vistara. Citi analyst Kaseedit Choonnawat said investors are expected to view SIA’s move favourably in the beginning, as the deal requires limited cash from the airline while providing it with a dominant position in one of the world’s largest aviation markets.

Sembcorp Marine was the top counter by trading volume, with 142.6 million shares transacted. The offshore and marine player inched up 1.5 per cent to 13.8 cents.

Most key markets in the region wrapped up trading higher despite a lacklustre session on Wall Street overnight. The S&P 500 index inched down 0.2 per cent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq dipped 0.6 per cent, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.01 per cent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was the standout performer in the region, surging 2.3 per cent, although Australian stocks hit a new three-month high after rising 0.4 per cent to end the month 6 per cent ahead. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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