Singapore stocks track regional gains following Fed meeting

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Impressive gains overnight on Wall Street driven by investors cheering the easy-money policy stance maintained by the United States Federal Reserve helped regional shares rise on Thursday (Mar 18).

The buoyant mood in the US saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average close above 33,000 points for the first time.

The Straits Times Index (STI) was among the winners, advancing 0.9 per cent or 28.01 points to 3,137.66 with gainers outnumbering losers 308 to 183 after 2.96 billion securities worth $1.73 billion changing hands.

IG senior market strategist Pan Jingyi said: “The (Federal Reserve) meeting had played out largely in line with expectations where no changes to monetary policy had been seen while the projections for the US economy, including GDP and inflation, had been revised upwards.”

She added that the “perfect duo of better economic growth projections and lower rates for longer expectations by the Fed had once again injected confidence into the market”.

Elsewhere, the Nikkei 225 in Japan climbed 1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 1.3 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.6 per cent.

Australian shares bucked the trend with the ASX 200 falling 0.7 per cent.

Jardine Matheson Holdings was the top gainer on the STI, rising 5 per cent to US$67.40. Other standout performers were Genting Singapore, up 2.2 per cent, and Jardine Cycle & Carriage, which climbed 1.9 per cent.

Just three STI counters ended in the red. Keppel Corp finished at the bottom of the performance table, falling 0.4 per cent to $5.13.

Jiutian Chemical was one of the most actively traded counters by volume, falling 3.3 per cent to 8.7 cents after 191.1 million shares were traded.

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