SINGAPORE – Investors had few leads to take up on Thursday apart from another positive night on Wall Street, but that seems to have been enough to send regional shares higher.
The Straits Times Index (STI) put in a modest effort to rise just 0.2 per cent, or 5.6 points, to close at 3,135.32, with gainers thumping losers 313 to 237, after 1.3 billion shares worth $945.5 million were traded.
Most regional markets went north as well but by varying degrees, driven by optimism surrounding speeches by United States Federal Reserve officials.
The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo was up 1.5 per cent while Australia’s ASX 200 gained 0.3 per cent to hit a three-week high.
The Kospi in Seoul edged up 0.2 per cent and Shanghai shares ended flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, however, slipped 0.3 per cent.
The tone was set by Wall Street overnight with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both up, although the Dow edged lower.
STI’s biggest gainer was property giant Hongkong Land, up 1.8 per cent to US$3.32.
Other winning constituents included Singtel, which gained 1.7 per cent to $2.40 after posting an 82.6 per cent increase in first-half earnings.
The top decliner was Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust, which dropped 3.7 per cent to $1.05.
Seatrium was again the most active by volume, with 277.9 million shares worth $30.3 million changing hands.
IG market analyst Yeap Jun Rong said Wall Street did not get many clues on monetary policy outlook from Fed chairman Jerome Powell’s speech on Wednesday.
While Mr Powell had said economists should be more flexible on their forecast methods, his words fell short of a direct guidance of risks for the US economy, added Mr Yeap.
SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes said markets have remained “relatively tranquil”.
“It appears that investors may have anticipated a more substantial pushback from the Fed against the decline in US rates,” he added. THE BUSINESS TIMES
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