Singapore stocks extend gains, STI up 0.76% to hit 3,000

Gainers outnumbered losers 276 to 203 on trade of 2.52 billion shares worth $1.27 billion.
Gainers outnumbered losers 276 to 203 on trade of 2.52 billion shares worth $1.27 billion.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE (BUSINESS TIMES) - It has been a long time coming for battered investors but the local market finally touched the 3,000-point level on Thursday (Jan 14).

Traders looking to a big-spending package from United States President-elect Joe Biden helped drive the Straits Times Index up 0.76 per cent or 22.49 points to close dead on 3,000.

This is the first time it has hit that level since March last year.

Gainers outnumbered losers 276 to 203 on trade of 2.52 billion shares worth $1.27 billion.

It was a mixed bag elsewhere in Asia even as the Biden stimulus plan comes into greater focus. Shares in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended higher, while those in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta fell.

"With President-elect Biden shooting for the moon on stimulus, and China data suggesting its economic juggernaut remains on track, financial markets should enter the last part of the week in a positive frame of mind," said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

Another boost could come from positive preliminary data from Johnson & Johnson's vaccine trials, said Mr Halley, adding that this might trigger another share surge at the end of the month.

The STI's best performers were property developers City Developments, which gained 3.7 per cent to $7.55, and UOL Group, up 2.5 per cent to $7.91.

Wilmar International was close behind, edging up 2.4 per cent to $5.17. Maybank Kim Eng recently raised its target price from $5.40 to $6.80 in anticipation of a number of potential upside surprises for the agri-business group.

These include a rise in palm oil prices and an improvement in its food products business in China as the economy picks up.

At the bottom of the table was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding. Its shares dipped 1.8 per cent to $1.07.

It was also the most active counter on the blue-chip index, with more than 47.9 million shares changing hands.