Bulls And Bears

Regional rally bumps STI slightly higher

It adds 0.26%, with 20 of its 30 stocks in the black; HK among biggest gainers in Asia

Singapore equities eked out small gains yesterday after getting a modest lift from a regional rally.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) put on 8.68 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 3,338.2, with turnover across the bourse of 1.74 billion shares worth $1.2 billion.

Hong Kong was again one of the biggest winners in Asia, up 0.79 per cent, while Shanghai added 0.6 per cent after a private survey in China showed that manufacturing activity there hit a four-month high in July.

Tokyo climbed 0.3 per cent, Seoul gained 0.84 per cent, and Sydney rose 0.91 per cent, likely thanks to higher prices for commodities, including crude oil.

"The abundance of cheap money is perhaps a theme that is getting stale. Yet, that is the best explanation you could think of to explain the strength of shares and commodities today," Mr Yoshinori Shigemi, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, told Reuters yesterday.

At home, 20 of the 30 STI constituents were in the black, while eight saw losses and two were flat.

Property firm City Developments was among the strongest performers, gaining a sturdy 3.6 per cent or 41 cents to $11.67, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding added 2.1 per cent or three cents to $1.445.

The local banks also put up a good showing, in particular DBS Group Holdings, which rose 1.5 per cent or 33 cents to $21.95.

But Singtel continued to be a drag on the index ahead of its earnings report release on Aug 11, sinking 2.8 per cent or 11 cents to $3.86.

Elsewhere, Perennial Real Estate Holdings advanced 1.7 per cent or 1.5 cents to 89.5 cents.

Perennial announced on Monday evening that it - as part of a consortium of investors that includes BreadTalk with a 5.31 per cent stake - is considering the en-bloc sale of AXA Tower at no less than $1.65 billion. BreadTalk edged up 0.3 per cent or half a cent to $1.755.

DBS Equity Research said in a report that the sale could translate to post-tax gains of $398 million for the consortium, and kept a "buy" call on both Perennial and BreadTalk.

Roxy-Pacific Holdings, which on Monday posted a 26 per cent drop in second-quarter earnings to $14.7 million, was flat at 52.5 cents.

Changtian Chemical & Plastic requested a trading suspension before the markets opened, following a voluntary unconditional cash offer by United Tech Industries. The stock last traded on July 21 at $1.29.

Real estate firm Rowsley retained its spot as the day's most heavily traded counter, easing 2.5 per cent or 0.3 cent to 11.6 cents on 278.7 million shares done.

An OCBC Investment Research report maintained a "hold" rating on the stock, noting that the latest set of results came in broadly within expectations.

Other actives included Hu An Cable Holdings, which took a 30.8 per cent or 0.4-cent dive to 0.9 cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2017, with the headline 'Regional rally bumps STI slightly higher'. Print Edition | Subscribe