STI at highest level so far this year, Latest Business News - The New Paper

STI at highest level so far this year

This article is more than 12 months old

It extends the week's rally to close at 3,311.27, up 31.49 points

The rally in Asian markets continued to build up on the back of improving prospects of a US-China trade deal even though International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warned of slower growth in many economies.

Strong Australian retail and trade data also contributed to the improved sentiment across Asia, CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) extended the week's rally to close at 3,311.27, up 31.49 points or 0.96 per cent - a fresh year-to-date high for the benchmark index.

On yesterday's market performance, IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted that "the bids for equities continued to come through the late session despite breaking out of the STI's resistance level of 3,300, which highlights strength".

Ms Yang feels there is a possibility that the blue-chip index can challenge the 3,400-point level soon, given that Singapore's bellwether banking stocks - which have a total index weight of about 40 per cent - have been gaining.

"However, investors should remain cautious about the upcoming earnings season, which may turn out to be a 'reality check' for stock markets," Ms Yang added.

Markets in Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia all closed with broad gains.

Of late, trading volumes on the Singapore bourse have been low, but yesterday, it clocked in at 1.83 billion securities, about 32 per cent above the daily average over the first two months of the year.

Total turnover did not fare badly either, at $1.42 billion, 39 per cent above the January-to-February daily average. Advancers outnumbered decliners 245 to 190.

A sizeable amount of trading volume came from Ying Li International, which saw 775.6 million shares traded.

The volumes was mostly due to a unit of Hong Kong-listed China Everbright purchasing 767.1 million shares or 30 per cent of the total outstanding shares of Ying Li from Newest Luck Holdings at 14 cents apiece.

China Everbright plans to keep Ying Li listed and does not plan to exercise any right of compulsory acquisition but said that it will re-evaluate if the free float requirements are not met at the close of the offer.

Shares in Chongqing-based property developer Ying Li ended the session 0.1 cent or 0.7 per cent higher at 13.9 cents.

Twenty-two of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the black.

Going by value of trades done, DBS Group Holdings saw $187.83 million traded - 13 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded - across 7.04 million shares.

The bank's shares closed 66 cents or 2.5 per cent higher at $26.73 and are up 12.8 per cent this year.

The other local banks also ended in positive territory. OCBC Bank was up 20 cents or 1.8 per cent at $11.55 while United Overseas Bank added 36 cents or 1.4 per cent to close at $26.10.

Among non-STI counters, Rex International's shares were boosted by higher Brent prices, which rose above US$70 (S$95) a barrel for the first time in five months during the Asian session.

Shares in the oil and gas company closed 0.4 cent or 5.1 per cent higher at 8.2 cents.

Meanwhile, Tritech Group continued to trade heavily but closed flat at 5.3 cents after it revealed late on Tuesday that it had signed a partnership agreement for a project worth 727 million yuan (S$147 million).

The company's stock had surged by 82.8 per cent over the four sessions leading up to the announcement.

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