Singapore stock index up 0.8% after midday break as Keppel shares soar 16%

The Singapore Exchange Centre in Shenton Way.
The Singapore Exchange Centre in Shenton Way.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares ticked higher on Tuesday afternoon (Oct 22), with the Straits Times Index gaining 0.8 per cent, or 25.38 points to 3,164.53 as at 1.02pm. 

Gainers edged out losers slightly at 155 to 149, after about 449.4 million shares worth S$588.4 million changed hands. This turnover was significantly higher than Monday’s churn of about 387.9 million shares worth S$318.6 million, shortly after the midday break.

Creating buzz in the market was Keppel Corp which soared 15.9 per cent, or 93 cents to $6.77, with about 22.3 million shares traded, while Singtel rose 0.9 per cent, or three cents to $3.25, with 20 million shares traded. 

This comes after Temasek on Monday made a surprise $4 billion partial offer for Keppel, reigniting speculation that there might be a consolidation in Singapore’s offshore and marine sector with a possible merger between the biggest shipyards Keppel O&M and SembMarine.

Also in the spotlight were Sembcorp Marine which pared earlier gains to $1.35, but is still up by 0.8 per cent or one cent, as well as its parent Sembcorp Industries which fell 2.6 per cent, or six cents to $2.23. 

Banking stocks were mixed in the afternoon trade - DBS rose 0.8 per cent, or 19 cents to $24.97, and OCBC Bank gained 0.6 per cent, or six cents to $10.73, whereas United Overseas Bank shed 0.1 per cent, or two cents to $25.93. 

Other active index stocks included City Developments which jumped 2.5 per cent, or 26 cents to $10.74, while Singapore Press Holdings lost 1.8 per cent, or four cents to $2.21 on a cum-dividend basis. 


Elsewhere, Asian equities mostly nudged higher on Tuesday as positive signs emerged on trade talks, and ahead of earnings from some of the world’s largest conglomerates. 

Japanese markets are closed today for the Imperial Enthronement Day, as Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony will take place, almost six months after he ascended to the throne. 

South Korea’s Kospi added 1.2 per cent, while Australian stocks also gained 0.4 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2 per cent at the break, and China’s Shanghai Composite was little changed.

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda noted that the US earnings season is now in full swing, and with the exception of Boeing, earnings from most industry heavyweights have been “pretty good” thus far. 

“McDonald’s results today should be a happy meal, and I would expect Microsoft and Amazons results tomorrow to provide a nice upsize,” added Mr Halley.

In a research note on Tuesday, UOB noted that the Asia data docket is light today, with market attention on Malaysia’s foreign reserves, Taiwan unemployment rate and Hong Kong inflation data.

“In the US, the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for October and September’s existing home sales will be due. Otherwise, Brexit remains the key focus,” the UOB analysts said.