China stock gains reflect on local bourse, STI ends 3 points higher

A file picture of a digital screen displaying stocks index data at the financial district in Singapore. PHOTO: AFP
A file picture of a digital screen displaying stocks index data at the financial district in Singapore. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares ended a tad higher as positive sentiment over gains in Chinese stocks erased early session losses from a negative Wall Street lead.

The benchmark Straits Times Index slipped 0.8 per cent at the opening bell, as global growth concerns spurred investors to sell riskier assets. But the index recovered as Chinese stocks advanced, to close up 2.68 points or 0.09 per cent at 2,882.27.

Trading volume is expected to be thin due to the short trading week. Markets in Singapore will be closed Thursday for a holiday.

Shanghai jumped 1.89 per cent, and Shenzhen, 3.55 per cent, led by a rally in industrial and technology companies, on speculation they may see increased orders following President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the United States.

But most other Asian bourses closed in negative territory as the delay in federal funds rate lift-off generated more uncertainty and pessimism over emerging markets and global growth.

Here in Singapore, the three new STI constituents, UOL Group, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and SATS traded higher yesterday as investors bought on expectations that some funds including exchange traded funds that track the STI are rebalancing their portfolios to reflect the new setup. UOL closed nearly 1 per cent or six cents higher to $6.08; Yangzijiang rose 2.1 pr cent or 2.5 cents to $1.19; while SATS gained 2.9 per cent or 11 cents to $3.91.

"However, given their tiny weightage, around 3.4 per cent, their rallies have hardly any impact on the overall index," IG market strategist Bernard Aw said.

Thai Beverage was the biggest gainer in terms of weightage, up 3 per cent or two cents to 68.5 cents, while Noble Group was the biggest laggard, down 4.1 per cent or two cents at 47 cents. Q&M Dental and Eastern Holdings each requested a trading halt pending announcements.

The most actively traded counters include International Healthway Corp (IHC) and Healthway Medical Corp.

IHC, upon the lifting of its trading suspension yesterday, plummeted nearly 69 per cent or 21.6 cents to 9.9 cents, with 274.5 million shares traded.

IHC had requested last week for a trading suspension on its shares to allow it time to revise the terms and conditions of the implementation agreement that spells out how its proposed scheme of arrangement should pan out. Under the scheme, IHC will buy all the shares of Healthway Medical Corp at 10 cents apiece via the issuance of new IHC shares at 45 cents apiece.

Healthway, which requested for a trading suspension yesterday morning and had it lifted the same afternoon, plunged 26 per cent or one cent to 2.8 cents with 84.9 million shares traded.

"There is uncertainty over whether the deal can be completed due to the numerous ways in which the deal can be terminated," remisier Alvin Yong said.