STI starts June with modest gain, Latest Business News - The New Paper

STI starts June with modest gain

This article is more than 12 months old

Benchmark index ends at 3,123.46, up 5.7 points or 0.2 per cent following four straight sessions of losses

Following a dour May, the local benchmark index managed to register modest gains in the first trading session of June but trade worries and global growth concerns continue to hang over investor sentiment.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,123.46, up 5.7 points or 0.2 per cent following four straight sessions of losses.

"The local benchmark index was noticeably oscillating near neutral throughout the day, with the sector performance mixed," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi observed.

Market watchers have also said the STI is finding support above the 3,100 level.

Investors in the region have been jittery in recent weeks as trade tensions between the US and China are not showing signs of cooling.

Washington also ramped up its offensive on Mexico and said it would not offer preferential trade treatment to India from Wednesday, in a bid to pressure New Delhi to increase market access for US goods.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, equity markets were mixed. Australia, China and Japan posted losses. Malaysia and South Korea finished higher. Hong Kong was flat.

"The Caixin manufacturing PMI surprise coupled with the softening of the US dollar at the start of the week provided some breathing room for Asia markets that had led to the rather mixed bag we are seeing across the region," Ms Pan said.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.06 billion securities, 83 per cent of the daily average in the first four months of 2019. Total turnover came to $880.8 million, 86 per cent above the January-to-April daily average.

CMC Markets' analyst Margaret Yang noted that trading volumes remained low as "cautious sentiment and trade uncertainties kept investors and traders away from the market, inhibiting risk-taking activities".

Across the market, decliners outpaced advancers 210 to 143. The benchmark index fared better, with only 12 of its 30 components in the red.

Genting Singapore was the benchmark index's most traded stock, with 29.7 million shares changing hands. The casino operator was unchanged at 87 cents.

The local banks were mixed. DBS Group Holdings ended $0.23 or 1 per cent down at $24.06. Meanwhile, OCBC Bank edged up two cents or 0.2 per cent higher at $10.59 and United Overseas Bank closed at $23.59, adding nine cents or 0.4 per cent.

Among non-STI counters, Indofood Agri Resources (IndoAgri) was one of the big gainers on the day. Its shares jumped five cents or 18.2 per cent to close at 32.5 cents after Indonesian instant noodle maker Indofood Sukses Makmur raised its buyout offer price for IndoAgri to 32.75 cents on Sunday.

Oil prices have continued to dip but oil and gas (O&G) counters managed to taper off the selloffs of the previous week.

Rex International closed 0.3 cent or 5.2 per cent up at 6.1 cents.

KrisEnergy shares were flat at three cents and GSS Energy closed at 6.8 cents, down 0.1 cent or 1.4 per cent.

UOB Kay Hian trading representative Brandon Leu suggested that bargain hunters may be supporting the sector at current price levels and that a "technical rebound for O&G counters is possible from here".

Despite market uncertainty, most real estate investment trusts (Reits) were up on the day with CapitaLand Commercial Trust (up $0.05 or 2.6 per cent to $1.98) and Frasers Centrepoint Trust (up $0.10 or 4.1 per cent to $2.52) leading the way.

Mr Leu said investors could be taking advantage of current market weakness to pick out "familiar names with attractive payouts".

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