Regional bourses on the rebound
STOCKS in Singapore posted their first gain in three days as Asian stocks mostly edged up yesterday after a significant rebound in oil and copper prices brought a semblance of calm.
The Straits Times Index gained 12.68 points to 3,338.84.
Some 1.28 billion shares, valued at $1.06 billion, were traded. Gainers numbered 223 while losers numbered 218.
Other South-east Asian stock markets also rose yesterday, with Indonesia rebounding from an over three-week closing low - hit in the previous session, before the central bank meeting on interest rates - while bargain hunting lifted battered Thai banking stocks.
Jakarta's composite index edged up 0.6 per cent to 5,188.71, rebounding from Wednesday's close of 5,159.67, the lowest close since Dec 23.
In Bangkok, the key SET index closed slightly higher at 1,523.38.
Shares of Kasikornbank Pcl gained 0.9 per cent after a third straight fall on Wednesday to a one-week low, while shares of Krung Thai Bank Pcl rose for the first time in five sessions.
Recent losses in large-cap banking shares were due to expectations of unfavourable fourth quarter results. Banks are due to report their October-December earnings by next week.
Stocks in Malaysia and Vietnam ended slightly higher after the fall in the previous session.
Malaysian shares ended higher yesterday with the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index adding 2.99 points to close at 1,745.00.
Some 1.93 billion lots, valued at RM2.3 billion (S$856 million) were traded. Gainers numbered 497 while losers numbered 283.
The Philippine stock market was closed yesterday and will remain closed today for the visit of Pope Francis in Asia's most populous Catholic country.
In other parts of Asia, Hong Kong shares finished higher yesterday afternoon, reacting to a surge in stock markets on the mainland that were boosted by prospects of more stimulus measures to support economic growth.
The Shanghai index experiencing its biggest rise since Jan 5, as investors bet on an increased chance of policy stimulus after disappointing bank loan data.
"Investor sentiment has stabilised and the market strengthened on reports from large investment banks that the government will loosen policy," said Li Zheming, an analyst at Datong Securities, of China.
The Hang Seng index rose 1 per cent, to 24,350.91 points, while the China Enterprises Index gained 1.5 per cent, to 12,190.52 points.
REUTERS, THE BUSINESS TIMES