Banking stocks drive Singapore index to highest since 2015

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Multi-year highs and big one-day gains for Singapore’s banking stocks have set the Lion City’s equities benchmark up for its best day in a month and its highest level since mid-2015.

The sector has been buoyed by DBS Group, which reported a good start to the year with its March quarter results. Net profit, up by 1 per cent from a year earlier to S$1.21bn ($866.6m), was roughly in line with estimates. Growth in fees from its wealth management business helped offset provisions for loans to companies in the offshore oil and gas sector, which are struggling with a downturn.

DBS shares were up 2.2 per cent in afternoon trade to their highest level since July 2015, but gained by as much as 2.8 per cent during the morning session. They were on track for their biggest one-day advance – and the first of more than 2 per cent – since mid-November.

United Overseas Bank’s 3.3 per cent gain lifted its shares to a two-year high and placed it as the best performing stock in the benchmark Straits Times index today. It was the stock’s biggest one-day gain since October 2015.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation – fourth-best in the index this afternoon – gained 1.6 per cent to a two-year high.

The Straits Times index was up 0.8 per cent, its biggest one-day gain since late March and its highest level since late July 2015.

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