SINGAPORE: There’s been lots of competition for the title of Asia’s best-performing stock market this year. Among the major equity indexes in the region, eight have climbed to records in the first four months alone.
Yesterday, Singapore’s Straits Times Index nudged higher, boosting this year’s gain to 6.2% in local currency terms, and took the top spot from Vietnam’s VN Index, which plunged 2%.
The city-state has its three big banks to thank for clinching the top spot across all major equity markets in the continent. On April 30, DBS Group Holdings Ltd, South-East Asia’s largest lender, reported quarterly profit that beat analyst estimates helped by signs of economic growth and higher US interest rates. Rivals United Overseas Bank Ltd and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp report in the coming days, and could fuel further gains in the Straits Times Index.
Vietnam’s benchmark index has been paring advances after a 43% surge in the past year. The VN Index has fallen 14% from a record high on April 9, as investors take profit and as a spate of local share sales curbed gains. The country’s stock market more than doubled in value in the past year to US$174bil. — Bloomberg
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