STI inches up despite global worries, Latest Business News - The New Paper

STI inches up despite global worries

This article is more than 12 months old

Singtel gives benchmark a boost, with the index ending 3.17 points higher at 3,330.82

Concerns over a global economic slowdown and trade tensions between the US and the European Union appeared to affect regional benchmarks in Asia more yesterday.

But The Straits Times Index (STI) still managed to close higher, even after tumbling from a high of 3,346 in the first hour of trading.

The blue chip index closed at 3,330.82, 3.17 points or 0.1 per cent up.

The early gains on the benchmark index "appear to be technically driven, with the breakout from the 3,330 resistance bringing in interest," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi observed. "But it appeared to be a false break as prices faded below the level into the afternoon session."

Eighteen of the 30 blue chips that make up the STI ended in the black.

Of the lot, Singtel was of interest to investors, closing six Singapore cents or 1.9 per cent higher at $3.17.

CMC Markets' Margaret Yang said: "The telco registered a new five-month high, and helped to lift the broad index due to its high weightage (8 per cent)."

Meanwhile, UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products Brandon Leu suggested that "investors are looking at a catch-up play, switching to fairly-valued quality counters that have lagged behind the recent market rally".

Market watchers also noted that Singapore market investors turned to profit-taking yesterday.

Mr Marcus Toh, principal trading representative at Phillip Securities, told The Business Times that some of the STI's counters like Keppel Corp (up one cent or 0.15 per cent to $6.66) and DBS Group Holdings (down four cents or 0.15 per cent to $26.93) were "toppish", which explained why investors took to booking profits.

"Investors will probably resume buying after the market goes through a correction," he added.

Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded, ending the session flat at 96.5 cents with 57.6 million shares changing hands.

The counter has shed 10.8 per cent since an increase in the casino entry levy and higher casino tax rates were announced, along with a $4.5 billion reinvestment plan for Resorts World Sentosa.

Going by value of trades done, United Overseas Bank saw $126.9 million traded - 6.5 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded - across 4.77 million shares.

The bank's shares closed three cents or 0.1 per cent lower at $26.53.

OCBC Bank gained one cent or 0.1 per cent to close at $11.73.

Trading on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 1.15 billion securities, about 91 per cent of the daily average over the first three months of 2019.

Total turnover came to $1.09 billion, 6.4 per cent above the January-to-March daily average. Losers outnumbered gainers 229 to 181.

Among non-STI counters, Moya Holdings Asia was among the main gainers on the day.

It was also the bourse's most traded.

The water treatment solutions provider gained 0.7 Singapore cent or 8.6 per cent to end at 8.8 cents.

UOB Kay Hian's Mr Leu said the counter's trade yesterday was likely down to speculative action by investors.

Oil prices reversed yesterday in what SPI Asset Management's head of trading and market strategy Stephen Innes said was "moving in tandem with risk sentiment, which has turned a bit softer (yesterday) on the usual concerns around global growth and Brexit risks".

For full listings of SGX prices, go to