Bulls And Bears

Regional markets rise on bargain-hunting

Asian investors move on from tech sell-off, look ahead to Fed's policy announcement

Asian investors moved on from the global sell-off in technology stocks and decided to pick up some bargains instead, lifting markets across the region yesterday.

A sudden slide in major Wall Street tech stocks last week caught many punters around the world unawares and briefly caused a rout in Asian tech stocks as well.

But CMC Markets senior trader Lim Dong-yul told Bloomberg that Asian markets have moved on, as Asian tech companies, unlike their software-focused US counterparts, are more hardware-focused and have businesses other than technology manufacturing that help to support their prices.

The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 9.18 points, or 0.28 per cent, to close at 3,257.52.

Hong Kong gained 0.56 per cent, Shanghai added 0.44 per cent, Seoul climbed 0.71 per cent and Sydney surged 1.67 per cent.

Tokyo ended flat.

Investors are now looking ahead to what the US Federal Reserve will announce later this week, after its policy meeting today.

Economists are expecting an interest rate hike of 0.25 percentage point.

"While no surprises are expected... investors will find it'll be hard to decisively sell or buy shares beforehand," Mr Seiichi Miura, a strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities in Tokyo, told Bloomberg.

For now, "investors are targeting stocks that are less vulnerable to price swings in the equity market like builders, real estate and retailers that also have solid profit potential", he said.

Embattled commodity player Noble Group continued to be of interest at home, rising three cents to 32.5 cents.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that Noble has been approached by potential buyers for its Americas-focused oil unit.

CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) slipped half a cent to $1.64. OCBC Investment Research yesterday reiterated its "hold" call on the stock, noting that it "continues to enjoy a strong balance sheet with a healthy gearing of 38.1 per cent and an average cost of debt of 2.6 per cent".

The brokerage also noted that 80 per cent of CCT's gross borrowings are on fixed rates, limiting the trust's exposure to rising interest rates ahead.

Singapore Medical Group gained two cents to 68.5 cents, after saying on Monday its unit, SMG Kids Clinic, will acquire paediatric clinics Children's Clinic Central and Kids Clinic @ Bishan for $25.3 million.

Soilbuild Construction fell half a cent to 21.5 cents.

It said on Monday its unit SB Project Services will subscribe to a 70 per cent stake in CS Corp, a company with an innovative concrete prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction system that it plans to commercialise.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2017, with the headline 'Regional markets rise on bargain-hunting'. Print Edition | Subscribe