Bulls And Bears

Markets cautious amid US political chaos

S'pore bourse holding steady as investors pay heed to improving fundamentals: Analyst

Ongoing fallout over US President Donald Trump's political woes meant another cautious session yesterday, with several major regional markets trading in a tight range.

On Wall Street, after an initial sell-off over fresh claims of Mr Trump's possible Russia ties, the Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced back to close 0.27 per cent higher overnight.

Regional gains were mostly marginal. Tokyo rose 0.19 per cent, Hong Kong added 0.15 per cent and Shanghai inched up 0.02 per cent.

In Singapore, the benchmark Straits Times Index pared 4.74 points or 0.15 per cent to close at 3,216.92, after moving between 3,213 and 3,226 during the day. Across the market, $1.12 billion worth of shares changed hands.

For the week, the STI lost 1.18 per cent, but the fact that the local market is still holding steady with a near-term support level of 3,200 shows investors have not lost sight of improving fundamentals in Singapore's economy and corporate performance, IG market strategist Pan Jingyi told The Straits Times.

"The first-quarter reporting season showed that, at least for the blue chips, earnings and turnover were largely better than expected.

"(The stock market) upside will be limited due to a lack of major catalysts, but I think investors are seeing good entry points right now despite the Trump scare."

Global Logistic Properties, one of the 13 STI gainers yesterday, impressed the market with a 62 per cent surge in fourth-quarter earnings. It added three cents or 1.03 per cent to $2.93.


Still, the management had no fresh details on the potential acquisition bids that have had the market speculating for months. OCBC analyst Eli Lee maintained a fair value estimate of $2.87 with a hold rating for GLP.

The top gainer was CapitaLand Commercial Trust, which jumped five cents or 3.07 per cent to $1.68 on 17.9 million shares traded.

Golden Agri-Resources was also hotly traded with 20.2 million shares transacted, closing up one cent or 2.7 per cent at 38 cents.

But there were also disappointments. Singapore Airlines slumped 78 cents or 7.25 per cent to $9.98 - leading the 12 STI losers - after announcing its first quarterly loss in five years. Singtel was down three cents or 0.8 per cent to $3.73 after 29.3 million shares changed hands, and CapitaLand Mall Trust dropped one cent or 0.51 per cent to $1.955 on a turnover of 10.1 million shares.

Outside the STI, Jakarta-based water treatment firm Moya Holdings Asia stood out with a gain of 0.7 cent or 6.73 per cent to 11.1 cents with 54 million shares done. This pushed the shares up almost 60 per cent over the past month.

But CNMC Goldmine has slumped 24 per cent over the past month. Yesterday it slid 1.5 cents or 4.69 per cent to 30.5 cents, days after reporting a 98.8 per cent plunge to first-quarter earnings.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2017, with the headline 'Markets cautious amid US political chaos'. Print Edition | Subscribe