STI up 0.4% amid cautious optimism, Latest Business News - The New Paper

STI up 0.4% amid cautious optimism

This article is more than 12 months old

Most Asian markets rise with positive developments on US-China trade front

Singapore stocks yesterday reversed the previous day's losses as US economic data topped expectations and tensions eased on the trade front.

The Straits Times Index gained 0.39 per cent or 12.22 points to close at 3,155.46, in line with most Asian markets. Gainers outnumbered losers 225 to 146, although activity remained subdued.

Total turnover was $909.82 million, with a total of 807.03 million shares traded.

The cautious optimism comes as Chinese importers bought 600,000 tonnes of US soybeans following last week's trade negotiations between the two economic powerhouses.

The US also confirmed Oct 7 as the date for the next round of Sino-US trade talks, with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He due to fly to Washington.

But traders remain on edge as they wait for more developments in the trade stand-off.

"Risk markets are not exactly jumping up and down with joy on Beijing's soybean concession knowing President Trump's latest "not interested in an interim deal' trade stance," said Mr Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader.

"Mind you, that too could change as quickly as it happened," he added.

Phillip Futures investment analyst Samuel Siew also advised investors to be wary of trading on headlines.

Pointing to Tuesday's rebound, he said: "Trade headlines have given markets nothing but volatility of late, with the statements tending to have drastic turns."

On the local bourse, some of the biggest advances yesterday came from Jardine Cycle & Carriage (Jardine C&C), Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Shinvest Holding.

Jardine C&C closed at $30.95, up 1.71 per cent or $0.52. The conglomerate announced in the evening that it would be launching a public tender offer to acquire up to 10.11 per cent of shares in Vietnam-based Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corporation.

Meanwhile, SGX, trading cum dividend, closed up 2.17 per cent or $0.18 at $8.47. The exchange is due to report its Q1 FY2020 results next month.

A day earlier, Jefferies had downgraded its call on the stock to a "hold". After a roughly 19 per cent year-to-date rally, price-to-earnings multiples are at cycle means, leaving only 5 per cent potential upside from its target price of $9, Jefferies explained.

Precision manufacturing firm Shinvest finished the day at $1.96, up 8.89 per cent or $0.16 after an earlier spike in its share price. There were no announcements from the company.

Other gains came from Metech International and Keppel Corporation. Catalist-listed Metech rose 20.42 per cent or $0.029 to $0.171, following news that its wholly-owned Chinese unit, Nolash Tech, has inked agreements with five companies to exclusively provide technical, operational and procurement services.

Yesterday morning, Keppel Corp said its property arm is looking to buy a 30 per cent stake in Win Up Global which will ultimately own Westmin Plaza, an office and retail development in Guangzhou. News of the deal boosted its share price by 1.66 per cent or $0.10 to $6.14.

Among the most active counters, TEE International added 4.65 per cent or $0.002 to 0.045, on the back of over 24 million shares changing hands.

Investigations into unauthorised transactions totalling $6.55 million allegedly made under the instruction of group chief executive and managing director Phua Chian Kin are ongoing at the group.

China's largest non-state-owned shipbuilder Yangzijiang Shipbuilding also saw close to 28 million of its shares change hands yesterday.

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