Investors start week cautiously, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Investors start week cautiously

This article is more than 12 months old

Asian markets mixed with STI ending 0.1% down

A manic Monday markets did not have. It was instead a day of cautious trading.

Asian markets started the week off mixed, with investors bracing themselves for a busy week.

Key events are the US-China trade talks, the Brexit Plan B decision and the Federal Reserve's policy meeting. Weak Chinese industrial profit figures released yesterday also weighed on the region's markets.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) spent much of yesterday in the black but ended the day down 2.75 points or 0.1 per cent to 3,199.50.

CMC market strategist Margaret Yang told The Business Times: "The resumption of the US federal government on Friday after a one-month shutdown catalysed a mild rebound in Asian equities on Monday morning, but positive sentiment quickly faded, as scepticism surrounding the upcoming trade talks took control over investors' mind."

Of the 30 STI constituents, 10 ended the day in the red. Turnover on the bourse stood at roughly 1.32 billion securities worth $822.8 million.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 198 to 163.

Oil and gas company Rex International was the most actively traded stock of the day.

It had requested a trading halt before the market opened yesterday but resumed trading before 2pm, after announcing a deal to divest its interests in two Norwegian assets through its 90 per cent-owned subsidiary, Lime Petroleum.

The counter added $0.013 or 16.1 per cent to $0.094 with 168.8 million shares changing hands.

Other actives on the Singapore bourse included Imperium Crown and Spackman Entertainment.

Much attention was on Catalist-listed Y Ventures, as analysts at DBS Equity Research cut their earnings estimates on the firm and suspended coverage on the stock as accounting errors surfaced from its H1 2018 financial statements last week.

The e-commerce outfit's stock closed $0.019 or 15.8 per cent down at 10.1 cents.

Defensive counters were the best performers on Singapore's blue-chip index.

Gaming stalwart Genting Singapore was the biggest gainer on the index in percentage terms, with the counter adding two cents or 1.9 per cent to close at $1.08. With a turnover of 23.9 million shares, it was the most active index stock of the day.

Food and beverage player ThaiBev also fared well, closing one cent or 1.4 per cent higher at 75 cents on a turnover of 17.4 million shares.

Index-listed Keppel Corporation ended the day six cents or 1 per cent lower at $6.14, as lower crude oil prices led to falls in counters with offshore and marine exposure.

KGI Securities also downgraded its call on Keppel to "hold", citing a growth slowdown in its key markets and the brokerage's cautious views on the macroeconomic climate.

Palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources shares finished flat at 27 cents.

RHB Research Institute analysts downgraded the call on it to "sell" and slashed the target price of the stock from 39 cents to 23 cents, citing the firm's weak fiscal 2018 performance.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Japan, China, South Korea and Malaysia ended the day in the red; Hong Kong markets closed the day with a modest gain.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 made the biggest shift of the day, dropping 124.56 points or 0.6 per cent, to close at 20,649.00.

Australian markets were closed yesterday for a public holiday.

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