SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – On the last trading day of this year, investor optimism waned despite the festive cheer, with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) sliding 25.41 points, or 0.89 per cent, to 2,843.81 points at the closing bell of a holiday-shortened day.

But for the month, the STI was up 1.35 per cent, or 37.86 points.

State Street Global Markets on Thursday (Dec 31) released the results of the State Street Investor Confidence Index (ICI) for last month. The Global ICI increased to 104.1, up 13.3 points from November’s revised reading of 90.8, with the Asian ICI increasing 17.4 points to 112.6.

Mr Rajeev Bhargava, head of investor behaviour research at State Street Associates, said: “The uptick in risk-seeking behaviour was largely driven by US and Asia investors, as the release of Covid vaccines… prospects of a fresh stimulus package out of the US and post-election certainty are likely contributing to a more positive outlook on asset markets.”

Among STI constituents, Sembcorp Industries was the top performer of the day, up 1 cent, or 0.59 per cent, to close at $1.71.

Jardine Strategic Holdings (JSH) was the biggest decliner, falling 83 US cents, or 3.23 per cent, to end at US$24.88.

JSH was one of four stocks identified as STI’s strongest performers in the quarter to date, and ranked highly for value factors, said the Singapore Exchange in a market update on Tuesday.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 221 to 182 for the day, with 665.63 million securities worth $548.44 million changing hands.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Hang Seng Index gained 84.02 points, or 0.31 per cent, to close at 27,231.13, while the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was trading up 28.34 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 3,442.79 at the mid-day break.

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