Singapore shares rise, sending STI up 0.74%

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Singapore shares continued to climb steadily over the course of the trading session on Wednesday (Dec 30) after rising at the open, with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) ending the day up 0.74 per cent or 21.08 points at 2,869.22.

Among the STI constituents, Wilmar International was the top performer for the day, gaining 2.38 per cent or 11 cents to close at $4.73.

Coming in second on the performance table was Singapore Airlines, which closed up 2.12 per cent or 9 cents at $4.33.

This comes after Tuesday’s announcement that the Government has earmarked $84 million as additional aid to tide the aviation sector over the Covid-19 crisis.

Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) was also among the counters that ended the day in the black, inching up 1.37 per cent or 1 cent to close at 74 cents.

In a report on Wednesday, RHB reiterated its “buy” call on ThaiBev, adding that the beer and liquor giant is its top pick for the Singapore consumer sector. Analyst Juliana Cai noted the company’s solid fundamentals, attractive valuation and better prospects for FY21F.

“Moving into FY21F, we expect earnings to be supported by a steady improvement in local demand on the back of recovery in on-premises consumption,” she said.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 279 to 201 for the day, with 1.55 billion securities worth $874.58 million changing hands.

Across the region, Asian markets ended the day mixed.

In its last trading day of 2020, the Nikkei 225 Index closed down 0.45 per cent, or 123.98 points, to 27,444.17. However, over the year, the benchmark Nikkei index rose 16 per cent to its highest annual close since 1989.

Meanwhile, the benchmark Kospi closed up 1.88 per cent or 52.96 points at a record high of 2,873.47 – rising for a fifth straight day. South Korean shares closed at a record high. The index also posted gains of more than 30 per cent for 2020, its biggest annual jump in 11 years.

The Shanghai Composite Index also advanced, moving up 1.05 per cent or 35.42 points to 3,414.45.

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