Data lull sees quiet day on local bourse, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Data lull sees quiet day on local bourse

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Investors treading warily as they watch for comments from Fed officials and critical US data releases this week

Lacking fresh catalysts, there was little impetus in the local equity market for a session with vibrant or at best, average turnovers.

That said, the Straits Times Index (STI) managed to add 12.08 points or 0.4 per cent to close at 3,360.03.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, markets in Australia, China and Malaysia were lower while Hong Kong and South Korea posted gains.

Vanguard Markets managing partner Stephen Innes called the Asian session "cautious and directionless" with traders "positioning gingerly knowing that the rest of the week is potholed by Fed speakers and critical US data releases, all of which have predictably left Asia equity markets struggling for direction".

Yesterday's US retail sales data and industrial production numbers for June will be assessed for how they compare with China's readings on Monday, which beat expectations.

Even though market focus is progressively shifting to corporate earnings for the April-to-June quarter, investors remain plugged in, monitoring the latest developments surrounding US-China trade relationship and further indicators of the global economic slowdown.

Effects of the trade skirmish between the US and China, and the tech slowdown have already dented growth expectations for most economies.

With last Friday's advanced estimate for Singapore's Q2 economic growth missing expectations, CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang noted many local companies continue to face headwinds "from reduced business activities, rising financing and operating costs, and a deteriorating external environment".

As such, increasing expectations of accommodative central bank policy, led by the US Federal Reserve's expected interest rate cut in end-July, continues to fuel investor optimism globally that the decade-long bull run still has legs.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.17 billion securities, just under the daily average in the first six months of this year.

Total turnover came to $854.44 million, 80 per cent of the January-to-June daily average.

Across the broader market, advancers beat decliners 208 to 182.

The benchmark index had eight of the STI's 30 components in the red.

With the lack of new developments, interest in real estate investment trusts (Reits) were back with the FTSE Straits Times Reit index rebounding after six consecutive days of decline.

Ms Yang acknowledged with Reits being "very sensitive to Fed interest rate guidance, investors need to monitor the US inflation, jobs data as well as the comments of Fed officials, carefully".

CapitaLand Commercial Trust (up $0.03 or 1.4 per cent to $2.18), Mapletree Logistics Trust (up $0.02 or 1.3 per cent to $1.62) and Keppel DC Reit (up $0.03 or 1.8 per cent to $1.71) were among the best performers.

CapitaLand Commercial Trust, one of three Reits on the STI, will release results for the second quarter ended June 30 before market open today.

Genting Singapore, which edged up 0.5 cent or 0.5 per cent to 92.5 cents, was the benchmark index's most traded stock with 19.3 million shares changing hands.

The local banks were mixed but share price changes were modest.

DBS Group Holdings ended $0.09 or 0.3 per cent higher at $25.99.

United Overseas Bank edged up $0.04 or 0.1 per cent to $26.60.

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank finished at $11.50, down $0.02 or 0.2 per cent.

SPH eased one cent to $2.31, its lowest since Jan 3.

On Friday after market close, the media and property group posted a 44.1 per cent drop in net profit to $26.2 million for the period ended May 31, despite a marginal decline in operating revenue.

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