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US jobs data underpins Singapore stocks

SINGAPORE shares traded mostly higher on the back of better-than-expected US jobs data, though analysts warned jobless claims were still elevated.

Investors cheered data showing payrolls rose by 4.8 million in June after an upwardly revised 2.7 million gain in the prior month.

The Straits Times Index (STI) opened at 2,648.64 and hit an intraday high of 2,660.27, before closing at 2,652.94 - up 16.25 points, or 0.62 per cent.

A total of 1.7 billion securities worth S$931.4 million were traded. There were 249 gainers to 168 losers.

Jingyi Pan, IG’s market strategist, said: “Singapore market looks to depart from the short-term downtrend, anchoring (the STI) around the 2,600 level.”

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News that China’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in over a decade in June also underpinned the market. The Caixin/Markit services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 58.4, the highest reading since April 2010, from May’s 55.0, pulling further away from the trough hit in February as the coronavirus lockdown paralysed the economy.

But upside was capped by news that in Singapore, retail sales fell 52.1 per cent on year in May 2020 - the lowest recorded decline since 1986 when growth rate data was first compiled.

Healthcare-related Medtecs International, which also makes disposable personal protective equipment (PPE), continued to enjoy active trading on the back of Covid-19 pandemic. The stock, which was trading around single digit Singapore cents in past years, closed at S$0.50.

Top Glove, the world’s largest rubber glove maker, also continued its uptrend. Year-to-date, the group’s share price has increased four-fold from S$1.54 last year to S$6 on Friday.

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