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Investors waiting for more info

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Data releases due this week include developments on Brexit vote and news on US-China trade deal

Expect markets in Asia to continue to wait on developments from the Brexit vote and news on the US-China trade deal.

Until further developments and details emerge, analysts told The Business Times that markets in Singapore and Asia are likely to continue to trade cautiously like yesterday.

CMC Markets' Margaret Yang said investors were on the sidelines due to a "lack of catalysts in the Singapore market".

Meanwhile, UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products Brandon Leu suggested that investors were waiting for the many data releases due later in the week for a clearer regional outlook.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) dropped 4.45 points or 0.14 per cent to close at 3,191.42 yesterday.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi observed that the blue-chip index continues to "hover above the support level of around 3,173 points".

The lack of activity in the session meant that trading clocked in at a muted 952.52 million securities worth $792.81 million, below the Singapore bourse's average. Decliners outnumbered advancers 234 to 168.

Like the Singapore market, other markets in Asia ended trading on Friday lower, but the region was mixed yesterday.

Ms Pan said: "It is not a surprise to see a mixed but muted start to the week for the Asian markets, as global equity markets remain in no-man's land."

She cited the US-China trade issue, which continues to hang in the balance between earnings seasons, as well as the largely mixed data releases from the US and China.

"The data releases lack transparency due to factors such as the US government shutdown and the Chinese New Year, effectively marring them."

Markets in Australia and Malaysia ended lower. Meanwhile, those in North Asia ended the day higher on the back of Chinese officials boosting sentiment that policy support would lift a slowing economy in China.

China's Shanghai Composite Index fared best. It fell 4.4 per cent on Friday but has pared losses to add 57.13 points or 1.92 per cent to close at 3,026.99.

Sixteen of the STI's 30 constituents ended in the black. Among them, food and beverage player ThaiBev was the blue-chip index's most traded.

ThaiBev ended the session up half a cent or 0.6 per cent to close at 80 cents with 17.1 million shares changing hands. The counter has gained 31 per cent since the start of the year.

Singapore Exchange (SGX) was among the STI's worst performers on the day, with its shares closing 29 cents or 3.7 per cent down at $7.47. The counter saw $64.5 million of shares traded, the most on the day.

Index compiler MSCI and the Hong Kong stock exchange said they will launch futures contracts on the MSCI China A Index to provide a hedging tool as global investor interest in Chinese mainland shares surges. This may rival the SGX's A50 Index Futures, which is currently the only offshore futures contract tracking the Chinese A-share market.

Last week's flavour for the most part - tech counters - had a strong rally yesterday.

Hi-P International was the bourse's most traded with 27.9 million shares traded. Shares in the contract manufacturer's shares finished 17 cents or 11 per cent up at $1.72, with the total value of the trades clocking in at roughly $46.1 million.

Memtech International closed two cents or 1.9 per cent up at $1.06. Ms Yang said "speculative activities" by investors were probably a result of both Hi-P's and Memtech's performance yesterday.

Reclaims Global, the Catalist board's newest member, debuted yesterday. It closed at 14.8 cents, 35.7 per cent down on its initial public offering price of 23 cents.

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