The Singapore stock market exceeded the expectations of market watchers in the first half of 2009. The STI climbed to the present level of 2,333, a 60 percent increased from a year-to-date low of just below 1,500 early in March.

This figure posted the sharpest increase in the region, partly because other property markets did not plummet as badly.

“By March 9, generally everything was oversold. People were very negative on the economy. There was basically no good news out there at all in March this year,” said’s general manager, Wong Sui Jau.

“Purely on things like bargain hunting, things started to look up. Then, we had the ‘green shoots’ theory coming out and some indicators that were giving hope to investors.”

“At the beginning of the year, we were thinking that the markets will be kind of flat because the global economic outlook was really quite bad,” said Providend Chief Investment Strategist Daryl Liew.

“But we were quite surprised with the rise in the markets – it’s not just the STI that has gone up; it’s a global phenomenon. All global markets bottomed out in March and all have risen, just to different degrees.

“I think the key driver in the initial part of the rally was the emergence of the ‘green shoots’ – something that Ben Bernanke first mentioned. That buoyed global markets. Linked to that, there was a change in investor psychology.

“Markets had fallen so much, I think a number of investors sitting on a lot of cash decided that they would just jump in because valuations had come down to decent levels.”

The sector on commodities has been on the lead. Several investors reckon such stocks as a means to benefit from a potential increase in commodity prices, which is common during a pick up in the economy.

“Not only did the ‘bulls’ like commodities, the ‘bears’ liked it as well. Some bearish investors felt that all this printing by governments all around the world would cause the value of money to come down and value of real assets like commodities would move up,” Wong said.