Daily Outlook

Asia’s worst stock market last year is now one of the region’s top performers

Singapore’s stock market is staging a strong comeback. The benchmark Straits Times Index ended 2020 as the worst performer in Asia, losing 11.8% through the year. But the STI climbed around 12.2% so far this year, and has become one of the region’s top performers.

The STI is a market capitalization weighted index that tracks the top 30 companies listed on the Singapore Exchange. As of Tuesday, as many as 12 of its constituent stocks have made double-digit gains this year. Taiwan was Asia’s best-performing stock market as of Tuesday. The benchmark Taiwan Stock Exchange Capitalization Weighted Stock Index, or Taiex, slightly edged out the Singapore index with a 12.4% gain this year.

Markets or stocks that are “cyclical” rise and fall in conjunction with fluctuations of the economy. The STI is made up of a high proportion of financial and industrial stocks typically considered as cyclical. With the global economy recovering from the pandemic-induced recession, Singapore’s stock market would do well, Goh said at a webinar outlining DBS’ quarterly investment outlook. She added that valuation in the Singapore market is “one of the cheapest” in the region, and that has spurred merger and acquisition activities among listed companies.

Earlier this month, conglomerate Jardine Matheson said it plans to simplify its structure by buying the 15% of Jardine Strategic it does not already own.

Taiwan was Asia’s best-performing economy in 2020, with its exports boosted by strong global semiconductor demand. The island is home to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, or TSMC, the world’s largest foundry.

Asia’s worst stock market last year is now one of the region’s top performers, CNBC, Apr 1

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