SINGAPORE - Local shares began the week on an upbeat note as investor sentiments were boosted by positive news about Singapore's vaccinations, as well as the Federal Reserve's preference for a cautious approach towards tapering.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 21.34 points, or 0.69 per cent, to end at 3,102.11. Gainers outpaced losers 292 to 212, with 1.31 billion securities worth $972.5 million changing hands.
It was a similar story across the region, with most markets rising on the back of cautious investor optimism.
The KLCI gained 0.7 per cent, while the Hang Seng Index and Nikkei 225 each added 0.5 per cent. The Kospi also advanced 0.3 per cent.
Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said that while the return of investors' risk appetite is generally boosting markets in Asia, the Delta variant of the coronavirus may be a factor to watch closely.
"Markets at this stage are most nervous about the data showing increasing weakness as Delta disruptions mount against a seemingly never-ending background of government interventions in various sectors," he said.
On the local bourse, Jardine Matheson Holdings was the top advancer. The stock rose 0.8 per cent to close at US$56.30.
The local lenders were also among the top gainers. DBS gained 1 per cent to $30.40, UOB added 0.6 per cent to $25.82, while OCBC Bank rose 0.8 per cent to $11.64.
Tech play iFast Corporation was the biggest loser, shedding 2 per cent to $8.30.
Jardine Cycle and Carriage was another decliner, falling 0.8 per cent to $19.76.
Sembcorp Marine was the most heavily traded counter, with some 103 million shares changing hands. The stock closed at nine cents, down 2.2 per cent.
Other heavily traded counters were GSH Corporation, Oceanus Group and Hatten Land.