Singapore stocks climb as bank stocks rally

Asian stocks rose, led by gains in automakers and technology stocks.

The logo of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) is pictured at its office in Singapore. REUTERS

Singapore equities reversed early decline to gain 1 percent on Wednesday as financial stocks such as OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank staged a turnaround.

Safe haven gold advanced while the yen was little changed after North Korea's missile launch raised worries the reclusive nation is planning to build a device to attack the United States mainland.

Asian stocks rose, led by gains in automakers and technology stocks, but geopolitical concerns continued to waver risk appetite. US equity and bond markets are set to reopen after the July 4 holiday.

The Straits Times Index advanced 1.17 percent or 37.5 points to 3,248. It ended 0.38 percent lower on Tuesday, taking the year-to-date gains to 11.5 percent.

Lenders were the top performer on the SGX, with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank gaining nearly 2 percent each. Shares of Disa, a maker of foundry machinery and filters, rose 2.3 percent after Tuesday's 7 percent slump. Among other gainers, chemical maker Jiutian Chemical surged 23.5 percent while KrisEnergy gained 5 percent.

The laggards included skincare products maker Best World International down 2.5 percent and Haw Par Corp, responsible for Tiger Balm ointment, dropped 1.6 percent. About 2.6 billion shares worth S$1.1 billion changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 301 to 150.