STI gains on day of mixed sentiments, Latest Business News - The New Paper

STI gains on day of mixed sentiments

This article is more than 12 months old

Optimistic Chinese macroeconomic data and expectation of positive US Q1 GDP reading on Friday lift bourse by 10 points

The Singapore market managed to close on higher ground during a session of thin trading, and one dented by sentiment that Beijing will slow the pace of policy easing after some signs of stabilisation in its economy.

The Straits Times Index (STI) added 10.12 points or 0.3 per cent to close at 3,357.70, with 22 of the blue chip index's 30 components ending in the black.

UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products, Mr Brandon Leu, said the Singapore market "seems focused on recent optimistic Chinese macroeconomic data and looking to a positive US Q1 gross domestic product reading on Friday".

Elsewhere in Asia, markets were mixed following Beijing's decision though the region's benchmark indices opened higher, taking cues from last Thursday's positive US corporate earnings reports and Friday's economic data.

China's Shanghai Composite Index fell from a 13-month high yesterday, posting its worst session in nearly four weeks to end at 3,215.04, dropping 55.75 points or 1.7 per cent.

Financial markets in Australia and Hong Kong were closed.

On the Singapore bourse, trading clocked in at 702.36 million securities, 56 per cent of the daily average over the first three months of 2019.

Total turnover came to $578.85 million, 57 per cent of the January-to-March daily average.

While lower volumes were of little surprise as many key markets remained closed, CMC Markets' market analyst Margaret Yang told The Business Times that investors were also on the sidelines, looking ahead for more companies to post earnings.

Across the local market, decliners outpaced advancers 184 to 174.

ThaiBev was the STI's most traded yesterday with the food and beverage player finishing 0.5 cent or 0.6 per cent up at $0.83 with 22.1 million shares changing hands.

Keppel Corporation shares caught the attention of traders in the first session since releasing its first-quarter results for fiscal 2019, adding $0.16 or 2.4 per cent to end at $6.90. Keppel is up 21 per cent this year.

Even though the conglomerate posted a 40 per cent lower net profit of $202.9 million, its offshore and marine business division reversed its net loss of $22.8 million from a year ago to post a profit of $5.9 million.

Market watchers said the segment's return to profitability was the most likely factor for yesterday's advance.

Among non-STI counters, Global Invacom Group (GInva) saw its share price surge by more than 80 per cent on heavy trading in the early session after the satellite communications equipment provider and Tactilis Pte Ltd mutually terminated a deal for the latter's Malaysian subsidiary.

GInva closed at 6.3 cents, up 2.1 cents or 50 per cent, with 45.9 million shares traded.

Meanwhile, Nico Steel was the bourse's most traded stock on the day.

The metals supplier closed flat at 0.5 cent with 68 million shares changing hands.

Oil prices rose to almost six-month highs after it was reported that the US government would eliminate sanctions waivers that allowed buyers to import Iranian crude.

Observers said investors are hoping that the higher oil price might speed up the recovery of oil and gas, and offshore and marine counters, which mostly closed higher on the day.

FXTM research analyst Han Tan believes that the price of black gold could head towards US$80 per barrel.

This comes as US drilling activity has slowed, and supply disruptions at a key pipeline in Nigeria are already constraining global supplies.

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