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Singapore shares inch up at Friday's open; STI up 0.1%

SINGAPORE shares struggled to advance in the first few minutes of trade on Friday, after ending lower the previous day and with Wall Street posting losses overnight amid doubts on further stimulus by the US Federal Reserve.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) added 2.18 points or 0.1 per cent to 2,502.96 as at 9.02am.

Gainers outnumbered losers 68 to 47, after 39.1 million securities worth S$46.4 million changed hands.

Among the index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Singapore Telecommunications which slipped S$0.01 or 0.5 per cent to S$2.22, with 1.4 million shares traded.

ComfortDelGro lost S$0.01 or 0.7 per cent to S$1.49, with 1.3 million shares traded.

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The trio of local lenders were up in early trade. DBS rose S$0.03 or 0.2 per cent to S$20.05, OCBC gained S$0.03 or 0.4 per cent to S$8.53, while UOB added S$0.09 or 0.5 per cent to S$19.29.

Other active stocks included Top Glove, which slipped S$0.08 or 3 per cent to S$2.55. The glove maker on Thursday said that it plans to list in Hong Kong within six to nine months to "expand the company's reach to a bigger market".

For the fourth quarter ended August, Top Glove reported a net profit of RM1.29 billion (S$423.8 million), over 17 times higher than its net profit of RM74 million for the year-ago period, thanks to a surge in demand for gloves amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over on Wall Street, US stocks pulled back on Thursday following mixed economic data and amid unease over a stalemate in Washington regarding additional government support for the coronavirus-battered economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 27,901.98, down 0.5 per cent. The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.8 per cent to 3,357.01, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.3 per cent to 10,910.28.

European shares also fell on Thursday, breaking a four-day winning streak. The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended 0.5 per cent lower by the closing bell, easing from a one-month closing high hit in the previous session.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo equities opened flat on Friday in cautious trade ahed of a long weekend. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.03 per cent or 6.68 points at 23,326.05 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was up 0.04 per cent or 0.72 point at 1,639.12.

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