SINGAPORE, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Singapore shares closed 0.56 percent higher on Wednesday, fueled by optimism over coronavirus vaccines rollout and revived U.S. Congress' efforts to pass a spending package to boost the pandemic-hit economy.
U.S. markets finished higher on Tuesday after House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited other top congressional leaders to meet to hammer out a coronavirus relief deal. Vaccine rollout continued to make progress as Moderna's coronavirus vaccine appeared set for regulatory authorization this week.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices rose as traders focused on progress of coronavirus vaccine rollout, looking past the tightening of lockdowns in Europe and forecasts for a slower-than-expected recovery in fuel demand.
MayBank-Kim Eng Retail Research said, "Technically, the Straits Times Index is still in a consolidative mode with overhead resistance at the 2,892 points breakdown gap, while near-term support lies at 2,793 points level."
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index rose 16.08 points to 2,872.8 points. Trading volume was 2.29 billion shares worth 1.25 billion Singapore dollars. Advancers outnumbered decliners 268 to 163.
Keppel Corporation rose 1.32 percent to 5.36 Singapore dollars. It divested its entire 49 percent stake in a Norwegian company, Production Energy AS (PECAS) to Skeie Technology AS, an existing shareholder, for about 24,000 Singapore dollars. PECAS had been involved in the exploration, development and management of offshore and marine licenses on the Norwegian continental shelf. It had resigned from the ownership of its last license in 2018 and is now managing its assets towards liquidation.
Meanwhile, Keppel's property arm, Keppel Land, has taken a strategic minority stake in Cove Living, one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing co-living companies, as the lead investor in the start-up's 4.6 million U.S. dollar Series A funding round. Cove currently has about 300 and 250 rooms and studios in Singapore and Jakarta respectively, and expects to double this to 1,000 rooms by the first half of next year with expansions planned for Vietnam and Philippines.
Among top gainers, Jardine Cycle and Carriage rose 0.7 percent to 20.25 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Strategic became one of the top losers by falling 3.29 percent to 25.57 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 1.33 Singapore dollars)