Singapore shares close flat as regional markets struggle for direction

SINGAPORE – Local shares remained stuck in the doldrums on Thursday, along with markets in the region, as investors struggled to get a sense of direction.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) responded in kind, inching up 0.03 per cent, or one point, to close at 3,119.62, with gainers easily outnumbering losers 231 to 224 after 1.48 billion securities worth $983.8 million changed hands.

The leading performer on the STI was Venture Corporation, which rose 1.9 per cent to $18.42, while aviation-related counters Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Sats finished at the bottom of the index, each declining 1.2 per cent.

DBS Group Research said on Thursday that the preparation of a road map for Covid-19 being endemic, as more people get vaccinated, could be positive for domestic reopening names.

Among the beneficiaries it sees are public transportation players and retail real estate investment trusts (Reits), including ComfortDelGro, Lendlease Global Commercial Reit and Mapletree Commercial Trust.

Lendlease Reit’s units rose 1.3 per cent while Mapletree Commercial Trust climbed 0.5 per cent. ComfortDelGro closed unchanged.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets were mixed. Shares in Japan and Shanghai closed little changed, while key indexes in Hong Kong and South Korea registered small gains of between 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent. Malaysia’s KLCI fell 0.6 per cent while the ASX200 in Australia slipped 0.3 per cent.

Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said: “It remains a day trader’s market this week, and intra-day swings will continue to shift on (United States Federal Reserve) speaker headlines. Next week should see the return of more directional moves.”

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