Mixed day for Asian markets, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Mixed day for Asian markets

This article is more than 12 months old

Australia, South Korea, Hong Kong end Thursday moderately higher while Japan, mainland China, Malaysia end lower

The British government's decision on whether to seek an extension to Article 50 is unlikely to play a heavy hand in influencing the market today. Instead, an approval from the House of Commons to extend the Brexit date will be deemed positive for the pound.

Perhaps closer to the hearts of regional markets are the Bank of Japan's meeting on monetary policy and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's closing address at the National People's Congress today, IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted.

Yesterday, markets in Asia traded mixed after a positive session on Wall Street and as China reported stronger-than-expected foreign direct investment figures in its slowing economy, but weaker industrial output growth figures.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) closed a tad higher at 3,197.92, up 2.33 points or 0.07 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong ended the day moderately higher.

Of the lot, the Kospi fared best as the weaker won meant foreigners turned net buyers towards session-end, which helped reverse losses earlier in the session.

Japan, mainland China and Malaysia ended lower. The Shanghai Composite Index performed worst. CMC Markets' Margaret Yang explained that the Shanghai benchmark index was down on profit taking activities, which kicked off in the small and mid-cap space.

Trading on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 850.89 million securities worth $1.01 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 214 to 166.

Twenty-two of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the black. Among them, ThaiBev was the blue-chip index's most traded.

The counter ended the session 15 cents or 1.9 per cent up at 82 cents with 38.3 million shares changing hands.


Going by value of trades done, OCBC Bank's counter saw $89.04 million traded - 8.8 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded - across 8.07 million shares.

It added one cent or 0.1 per cent to close at $11.04.

The other local banks also gained on the day.

DBS Group Holdings closed 13 cents or 0.5 per cent higher at $25.10, and United Overseas Bank added 15 cents or 0.6 per cent to end at $25.05.

Crude oil prices continued to rise during the Asian session, and saw oil and gas pennies in active trading.

Rex International closed 8 per cent higher at 8.1 cents, on 58.3 million shares traded, the bourse's most active counter.

AusGroup added 7.4 per cent to close at 2.9 cents and KrisEnergy gained 1.8 per cent to 5.8 Singapore cents.

In what has been a positive week for black gold, UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products Brandon Leu suggested that investors were "hoping that the operating environment will improve, especially for smaller oil & gas companies".

Bourse operator Singapore Exchange, which had seen its stock slide by 6.9 per cent during the first three days of the week, recovered yesterday to close 0.7 per cent up at S$7.31.

Agri-food business Japfa's shares dropped 7.7 per cent to 66 cents after a downgrade to "reduce" by brokerage CGS-CIMB.

Telco Singtel closed 1 per cent up at $2.99 despite the market experiencing overhang after a Moody's downgrade on outlook and a possible rating downgrade by S&P.

Mr Leu said it was positive to see Singtel bounce of its technical support of $2.95.

"As long Singtel is able to hold above this level, we may see potential rebound," he said.

For full listings of SGX prices, go to http://btd.sg/BTmkts