Asian markets bounce on rebounding crude, STI fails to make cut

A Citgo oil refinery stands in Texas on Jan 7, 2016.
A Citgo oil refinery stands in Texas on Jan 7, 2016. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Most Asian stocks bounced back Friday, tracking the rebound in crude prices - but Singapore failed to make the cut.

The local Straits Times Index (STI) closed flat in a quiet session, dipping 2.42 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 2,867.4, despite opening higher in the morning. Still, it was 39.23 points or 1.39 per cent up for the week.

"We are getting close to the end of earnings season and the dust is almost settled," Ms Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore, told The Straits Times.

"The second-quarter corporate earnings so far have been generally mixed, with few positive surprises.

"Investors are cautiously assessing the impact of oil and gas downturn on local banks, and questioning the sustainability of dividend payouts from local companies amid the challenging environment."

Some of the biggest laggards included ComfortDelGro, which lost six cents or 2.1 per cent to S$2.86, and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, down 1.5 cents or 1.9 per cent to 77 cents.

On the other hand, airport services and inflight catering company Sats rose 12 cents or 2.6 per cent to S$4.82, while StarHub added eight cents or 2.1 per cent to S$3.89.

Commodity trader Noble Group retained its spot as the day's most active, sliding 0.7 cent or 4.5 per cent to 14.8 cents on 134.9 million shares done.

Only 1.02 billion shares worth $915.8 million were traded across the bourse.

Markets elsewhere in Asia fared better, as oil prices climbed higher to cross US$46 a barrel. Tokyo reopened after a holiday with a 1.1 per cent gain to reach its highest in two months, boosted by a weaker yen, while Shanghai rose 1.6 per cent and Hong Kong grew 0.82 per cent as investors shrugged off lacklustre economic data from China.