STI struggles to hold gains amid lack of drivers, Latest Business News - The New Paper

STI struggles to hold gains amid lack of drivers

This article is more than 12 months old

Index climbs in morning session to 3,212.16 but gives up gains to close lower at 3,198.39

Amid a lack of significant drivers, Asian markets saw mixed results yesterday as they tried to build on the previous day's gains, and Singapore was one of those that came out on the losing end.

The key Straits Times Index (STI) climbed in the morning session to 3,212.16 just before the break and appeared to stay strong in much of the late session.

It ultimately gave up all gains to close 0.06 per cent or 1.89 points lower at 3,198.39.

"Singapore's market performance remains lacklustre with many stocks unable to hold on to intra-day gains. This is against a backdrop of weak economic data and first quarter results season that will start in a month's time," Mr Joel Ng, head of Singapore research at KGI Securities, told The Business Times.

Mr Paul Chew, head of research at PhillipCapital, said: "We expect markets to trade sideways in the near term. Global growth is still sluggish and fixed income markets are beginning to price in a recession in the US, as reflected by yield curve inversion."

He added: "Optimism is just being held up by a trade deal between the US and China.

"However, the delay and uncertainty in closing this deal will create more damage to the global economies."

FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga expects global markets to take US President Donald Trump's optimism for the outcome with a pinch of salt, although a positive conclusion would likely give risk sentiment a boost.

On the Singapore bourse, turnover was about one billion shares worth $1 billion.

Gainers outnumbered losers 213 to 173, or about five securities up for every four down.


Keppel Infrastructure Trust outstripped other counters in active trading, with 77.2 million units changing hands before it closed flat at $0.465.

The trust opened a preferential offering of units yesterday morning, allowing entitled unitholders to accept and apply for excess units until April 4.

The preferential offering is part of its latest equity fund-raising exercise to raise $500.8 million to partially repay a loan facility taken for the acquisition of Ixom HoldCo, a water treatment chemicals distributor.

ThaiBev followed with 51.1 million shares traded, closing up 3.5 cents or 4.27 per cent to $0.855.

Morgan Stanley analysts on Tuesday said they remain overweight on the spirits-maker, saying that investors may not fully appreciate the impact of recent acquisitions on its growth.

A few real estate investment trusts (Reits) with properties in Singapore's Central Business District (CBD) edged higher, following the announcement of an incentive scheme by the Urban Redevelopment Authority that will include higher gross plot ratios in certain areas of the CBD to encourage the conversion of existing office developments to hotel and residential uses.

KGI research analyst Geraldine Wong expects the move to act as a mid- to long-term growth catalyst for median Grade A office rents.

KGI's house view is overweight on commercial Reits based on favourable demand and supply dynamics, and favours Reits with high exposure to local Grade A offices such as CapitaLand Commercial Trust.

Ms Tara Wong, research analyst at PhillipCapital, also noted: "A plus for developers would be the opportunity to develop within this prime area, with only a handful of new launches being floated in District 2 in the last five years."

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