STI up on active day for local stocks, Latest Business News - The New Paper

STI up on active day for local stocks

This article is more than 12 months old

Index reverses Tuesday's losses with 0.57% gain to rise to 3,278.38; Sembcorp Marine surges 6.33% after returning to the black in Q4

Singapore shares were revived yesterday after a tepid start to the week, with a fair amount of buzz on the local counters.

The Straits Times Index (STI) reversed Tuesday's losses with a 0.57 per cent gain yesterday, rising 18.58 points to 3,278.38.

Trade activity on the bourse saw 1.35 billion securities worth $1.12 billion changing hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 249 to 167.

Of the 30 STI constituents, only five ended the day in the red. Of note, DBS Bank was lower by 0.08 per cent or $0.02 at $25.08 with 3.5 million shares traded.

News broke yesterday morning that DBS is revamping its retail stock-brokerage operations and exploring alternative models to its broking arm DBS Vickers. A town hall meeting was held last evening to inform staff that the bank will fold its retail equity trading under DBS Vickers into the bank, leaving the securities and derivatives arm to focus on its institutional clients.

Earlier on, DBS had also reported fourth-quarter results that missed some forecasts, with analysts subsequently cutting their target prices for the counter.

Other decliners included Creative Technology, which pared 0.82 per cent or $0.04 to $4.81, despite having been "blessed" by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, in one trader's words.

But that bit of gloom did not dampen spirits - especially not for Sembcorp Marine. The counter surged 6.33 per cent or $0.10 to $1.68 yesterday. Sembcorp Marine was also the day's fifth most active stock by traded value.

At $54.8 million, its traded value was an almost eight-fold increase relative to its $7 million average daily traded value for the past three months, according to SGX market strategist Geoff Howie.


This came despite a sharp drop in the group's Q4 profit, as analysts and traders said the results beat their expectations following several quarters of losses.

Mr Marcus Toh, principal trading representative at PhillipCapital, said it was also expected that SembMarine would not announce dividends.

On the counter's trading volume yesterday, he said buy orders were mainly from institutions.

DBS analyst Yeo Kee Yan also highlighted that oil prices have risen in the past three weeks, which should help SembMarine's stock price.

Indeed, higher oil prices appeared to lift optimism on oil and gas related companies. Aside from SembMarine, Sembcorp Industries and Keppel Corp also traded up yesterday.

Sembcorp Industries was 3.5 per cent or $0.09 higher at $2.66, while Keppel Corp closed at $6.32, up 3.27 per cent or $0.20.

On the property front, shares of CapitaLand rose as much as 1.5 per cent after reporting a 71.2 per cent surge in fourth-quarter profit and declaring a dividend of 12 cents per share. The counter finished 1.18 per cent or $0.04 higher at $3.43.

Sasseur Reit went up 4.05 per cent or $0.03 to $0.77, after its Q4 distribution per unit beat forecasts a day earlier.

DBS analysts noted that Sasseur Reit's share price is trading below its IPO price of $0.80, which they believe is partially attributed to the lack of familiarity with its business model.

They hold a "buy" call on the Reit, with $0.97 target price.

Elsewhere, markets across Asia generally closed higher as well, after US President Donald Trump signalled flexibility around the crucial March 1 deadline.

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