BULLS AND BEARS

Hopes of Greek deal keep markets positive

Optimism over emergency meeting to resolve crisis spurs most Asian bourses

ASIAN markets made headway yesterday as investors held onto hope ahead of an emergency summit in Brussels on Greece's debt situation.

The meeting was scheduled after negotiations between Greece and its creditors broke down last Thursday as the country neared its June 30 deadline to repay about €1.54 billion (S$2.3 billion).

Fears around the Greek crisis spooked Wall Street, which fell 0.55 per cent last Friday.

But optimism over the emergency meeting that could see Greece avoid a default allowed most bourses in the region to edge higher, led by the Nikkei Stock Average, which closed 1.26 per cent up.

The Straits Times Index rose 0.43 per cent, or 14.17 points, to close at 3,315.13.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 1.2 per cent, while the mainland Chinese stock markets were closed for the Dragon Boat holiday.

"There is talk that the recent correction has made the local equity market more attractive due to better valuation and yield," said IG market strategist Bernard Aw.

Strong gains in Singtel shares - the counter rose seven cents to a one-month high of $4.30 - were behind much of the STI's rise.

The telco was also among yesterday's top-gaining blue chips.

Other strong performers included Olam International, which closed five cents up at $1.915, and Sembcorp Marine, ahead five cents to $2.88.

At the other end of the ledger, Noble Group had yet another dismal day, closing 1.5 cents down at 68.5 cents.

The embattled firm announced yesterday its fifth share buyback this month, as the management continued to fight against short-seller attacks.

Outside the STI, shares of mainboard-listed Amtek Engineering climbed 8.2 per cent to 73 cents in early trade - their highest in more than two weeks - after Bloomberg News reported last Friday that CVC Capital Partners and Standard Chartered Private Equity are exploring the sale of their majority stake in the company.

The counter ended the day 4.5 cents up at 71.5 cents.

Q&M Dental Group shed 1.5 cents to 71 cents despite an earlier announcement of its proposed acquisition of Smilebay Dental Clinics in Penang that was in line with its plans to expand operations in Malaysia.

But market watchers remain upbeat on the healthcare play, with CIMB giving it a "buy" call as "growth opportunities are still present".

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2015, with the headline 'Hopes of Greek deal keep markets positive'. Print Edition | Subscribe