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STI picks up on rise in Asian equities

This article is more than 12 months old

Straits Times Index snaps string of losses this week to finish 0.4 per cent, or 11 points, higher at 3,054

Asian stocks rose yesterday, buoyed by signs that China and the US are taking steps to de-escalate their bitter trade dispute.

Beijing had on Wednesday sent a response to US demands for trade reform, as both countries resumed informal discussions ahead of a meeting between their leaders.

The move could signal formal negotiations between the two in a trade war of attrition which so far has involved everything from soya beans to aluminium.

Hong Kong and Shanghai equities rebounded, following upbeat earnings from Internet giant Tencent. The Hang Seng ended 1.8 per cent higher, while China's benchmark Shanghai Composite index added 1.4 per cent.

Tencent itself soared 6 per cent on earnings, which beat analysts' forecasts.

However, rising uncertainty surrounding the resignation of the UK's Brexit secretary Dominic Rabb caused turmoil in sterling and European equities in general, noted CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang.

"Concerns about the UK's political future are likely to exert negative influence on market sentiment," she highlighted.

In South Korea, the Kospi closed one per cent higher yesterday, boosted by news that US President Donald Trump will be meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un again next year.

In Australia, shares on the S&P/ASX200 closed nearly flat yesterday as the market took in the somewhat good news between Beijing and Washington.

Over in South-east Asia, Indonesian equities led with a 1.7 per cent rise, while across the Causeway, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index rose 0.34 per cent.

At home, the key Straits Times Index (STI) snapped a string of losses this week to finish 0.4 per cent, or 11.34 points, higher at 3,054.53 at the closing bell.

The bourse erased losses in early morning trade, which saw it slip 0.09 per cent at yesterday's open.

Prices have found better momentum going into November, although the 3,028 support level once again appears to be challenged, noted IG market strategist Pan Jingyi.

"Hopes for the US-China meeting have been brewing, where even the status quo scenario of more talks being agreed could have a material change for sentiment. This will be key for the region and the local STI alike in the near-term," Ms Pan said in a note.

Advancers outnumbered decliners for the first time this week by 222 to 170, on turnover of some 1.91 billion shares worth $1.06 billion.

The most actively traded counter for the day was Genting Singapore with 43 million shares changing hands, rising 2.7 per cent or 2.5 Singapore cents to 95 Singapore cents.

UOB was the only local bank to finish in the green, up 0.46 per cent to $24.21. OCBC shed 0.72 per cent to $11.06, while DBS ended 0.22 per cent lower to $23.15.

Capitaland finished 1.3 per cent higher, or four cents, to $3.12 at the closing bell. RHB and DBS both maintained their "buy" calls on the developer's growing earnings and diversified assets.

Entertainment firm mm2 Asia sank 4.05 per cent, or 1.5 cents to finish at 35.5 cents after posting a 17.7 per cent drop in its Q2 earnings on higher finance expenses.

Noble Group ended yesterday 5.68 per cent lower, or 0.5 cent, to 8.3 Singapore cents after its board announced that the schemes of arrangement tabled for its debt revamp had been granted sanctions by the English and Bermudan courts.

Singapore Airlines (SIA), meanwhile, shed 0.956 per cent to end at $9.32 after news broke that it is looking to buy a stake in Indian carrier Jet Airways.

For full listings of SGX prices, go to http://btd.sg/BTmkts

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