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Singapore stocks rise at Thursday's open after upbeat exports data; STI up 0.2%

SINGAPORE shares rose on Thursday after the Republic announced a 7.7 per cent growth in non-oil domestic exports for the month of August, higher than analysts had forecast.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) gained about 0.2 per cent or 4.42 points to 2,509.57 as at 9.05am.

Gainers outnumbered losers 69 to 61, after 67.8 million securities worth S$83.6 million changed hands.

Among the most active stocks by volume was Sembcorp Marine, which was trading flat at 16.9 Singapore cents after 6.8 million shares changed hands as at 9.05am.

Also heavily traded was Wilmar International, which gained 5.1 per cent or S$0.22 to S$4.52, with 4.7 million shares traded. The agri-trade giant on Wednesday said it expects the listing of its Chinese unit, Yihai Kerry Arawana (YKA), to take place by mid-October. YKA has received final registration approval for its listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange's ChiNext Board, Wilmar added.

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Thai Beverage Public co was trading flat at S$0.61, with four million shares changing hands.

Singapore banks all recorded losses on Thursday morning. DBS fell 0.1 per cent or S$0.02 to S$20.27. OCBC was down 0.1 per cent or S$0.01 to S$8.52, while UOB fell 0.2 per cent or S$0.03 to S$19.27. Following news that UOB had implemented a wage freeze, the trio told The Business Times that they will stick to commitments to retain jobs through to the end of the year, but are actively managing staff costs.

Other active index counters at Thursday's open included Top Glove, which lost 4 per cent or S$0.12 to S$2.88. Singapore Telecommunications gained 0.5 per cent or S$0.01 to S$2.23.

Keppel Corp fell 0.5 per cent or S$0.02 to S$4.23. Its subsidiary Keppel Shipyard has entered into a five-year memorandum of understanding with mainboard-listed offshore oil and gas contractor Dyna-Mac to explore "potential business relationships and opportunities" between the two on a non-exclusive basis, Dyna-Mac said on Wednesday.

In the US, Wall Street stocks finished mostly lower after a volatile session on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve kept interest rates low and offered a cautious outlook on the economy.

It was a mixed session for the wider European market on Wednesday, with Britain's exporter-heavy FTSE 100 hit by a stronger pound, though retail stocks surged after strong results from Zara-owner Inditex.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday tracking falls on Wall Street, a day after Japan's Parliament elected Yoshihide Suga as the country's new prime minister.

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