Bulls And Bears

It's a party across the region but S'pore is sober

Falls by lenders DBS and UOB and telco Singtel did the most damage to the Straits Times Index.
Falls by lenders DBS and UOB and telco Singtel did the most damage to the Straits Times Index.PHOTO: REUTERS

STI slips 11.71 points, with damage seen in share falls by DBS, UOB and Singtel

Markets across the region kept up the jovial new year spirit yesterday but Singapore proved the party pooper after days of merry-making.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slipped 11.71 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 3,489.45 with about 1.97 billion shares worth $1.13 billion in total changing hands.

Even that blip couldn't take the shine off what was a stellar first week of 2018 with the index up 2.5 per cent.

Falls by lenders DBS and UOB and telco Singtel did the most damage to the STI yesterday.

Midas Holdings, an aluminium extruder, continued to be actively traded after announcing a unit's contract wins this week. It rose 5.7 per cent to 16.6 cents.

Memories Group, the Myanmar tourism firm run by Myanmar tycoon Serge Pun, began life on the Catalist board after a reverse takeover. It opened at 28.5 cents and closed up significantly higher at 37 cents. The firm, previously known as SHC Capital Group, has about 351 million shares issued, which means it now has a market capitalisation of $130 million.

Expectations are on the high side. Based on a corporate factsheet, Memories made a net profit of US$1.1 million (S$1.4 million) in the year to March 31, 2017. Its two main units are its "Balloons over Bagan" business (US$6 million of annual revenue, net profit margin of 20-plus per cent) and a tourism services operation (US$5 million of annual revenue, net profit margin in single digits). Together, they make net profits of US$1.5 million to US$2 million. Memories also operates a 19-room boutique hotel in Karen State, and is developing a 46-room resort in Yangon. Another proposed move is a tourism-related project in Bagan.

Elsewhere, concrete supplier Pan-United Holdings closed at 44 cents after going ex-entitlement yesterday. Shares had previously gone for 58 cents. The firm is spinning off its profitable China river ports business, Xinghua Port Holdings, in Hong Kong.

In Singapore, the concrete and cement business remains subdued. Cement and ready-mixed concrete prices were stable from September to November, even as demand was down slightly, based on Building and Construction Authority data.

Elsewhere, the party continued. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 went up another 0.9 per cent. Investors can't get enough of robotics firm Fanuc Corp, which was up 3 per cent after its 6 per cent rise on Thursday.

Beer shares soared. Asahi Group rose 4.8 per cent to a record high. Tsingtao Brewery was up 10.8 per cent in Hong Kong. Rival China Resources Beer was up 10.4 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2018, with the headline 'It's a party across the region but S'pore is sober'. Print Edition | Subscribe