Investors talk in front of stock market screens at a securities company in Hanoi. Vietnam shares tumbled more than 2% on Monday. (Reuters photo)

Singapore shares climbed 1% to their highest close in two-and-a-half years on Monday, riding on a rally in financials, while Vietnam stocks tumbled 2.4% in their sharpest drop in nearly two years.

The city-state’s top lenders United Overseas Bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and DBS Group  surged to record closing highs.

ComfortDelGro Corp climbed 6.3% after the city-state’s top taxi operator said on Friday it would buy a 51% stake in a unit of San Francisco-based Uber that runs a fleet of private hire vehicles.

Asian shares were also buoyant following strong US payrolls data and better-than-expected Chinese trade figures on Friday.

The MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.7% at 553.25 as of 4.24pm, well above a recent two-month trough of 542.27.

Vietnam shares, which have been Southeast Asia’s best performers so far this year with a gain of more than 41% as of Friday’s close, fell for a fourth session in five. 

Most of the sectors were in the red, with Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp and Vietcombank shedding 5.2% each to settle at three-week closing lows.

Philippine shares recovered from early falls to close at two-week highs, buoyed by heavyweights SM Investments Corp and BDO Unibank Inc.

Earlier, Fitch Ratings upgraded the country’s credit rating to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘, citing its strong economic performance and policies.

SM Investments rose 1.7% to its highest close in over a month and BDO Unibank climbed 3.4% to a record close, outweighing losses in top telecom stocks.

PLDT Inc plunged 5% to its lowest close since March and Globe Telecom Inc dropped 4% to its lowest close since February after the Philippine government indicated a Chinese company could enter the market.

Malaysian and Indonesian shares closed marginally lower.

An index of Indonesia’s 45 most liquid stocks rose 0.1%.

News Reporter

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