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Singapore stocks rise at open, tracking modest gains on Wall Street; STI up 0.3%

SINGAPORE shares opened slightly higher on Wednesday after US markets saw modest gains amid renewed hopes for a stimulus package.

The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 0.3 per cent or 6.52 points to 2,535.16 as at 9.04am.

Gainers outnumbered losers 71 to 41, after 53.3 million securities worth S$48.3 million changed hands.

The most active counter by volume was Sembcorp Marine, which held steady at 14.1 Singapore cents with 9.3 million shares traded.

Other heavily traded securities include Genting Singapore, which fell 1.5 per cent or S$0.01 to S$0.66 with three million shares changing hands, and Mapletree Logistics Trust (MLT), which dropped 1 per cent or S$0.02 to S$2.06 with 2.2 million units traded.

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MLT on Wednesday morning requested to lift the trading halt it called on Tuesday. Its private placement was about 5.5 times covered including the upsize option, while the issue price for its preferential offering was set at S$1.99 per new unit. MLT is looking to partially fund its proposed Asia acquisitions with the equity fundraising.

Banking stocks rose in early trade. DBS gained 0.5 per cent or S$0.10 to S$21.40, UOB advanced 0.8 per cent or S$0.16 to S$19.79, while OCBC rose 0.3 per cent or S$0.03 to S$8.74.

Other active index counters include Frasers Centrepoint Trust, which added 0.4 per cent or S$0.01 to S$2.36, and SATS, which put on 1.9 per cent or S$0.06 to S$3.18.

In the US, Wall Street recouped some of Monday's losses on Tuesday, closing higher amid renewed signs policymakers in Washington can finally agree on a spending package to boost the US economy.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 per cent to end at 28,308.79, the broad-based S&P 500 added 0.5 per cent to 3,443.12, while the tech-rich Nasdaq rose 0.3 per cent to 11,516.49.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3 per cent or 63.84 points in early trade to 23,630.88, while the broader Topix index advanced 0.5 per cent or 8.68 points to 1,634.42.

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