Bulls And Bears

Singapore shares rise on bargain-hunting

Regional sentiment up on US manufacturing data, with weaker yen adding to optimism

A bout of bargain-hunting, especially among oil and gas counters, helped to lift Singapore shares yesterday, in line with a broader rally across the region.

The local benchmark Straits Times Index gained 13.8 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 2,884.64.

Although Wall Street shrugged off the news, data showing that the United States manufacturing activity had revved up last month seemed to set a positive mood for the Asian trading day. Tokyo took the lead, with a weaker Japanese yen also adding to the sense of optimism, boosting the stocks of exporters and pushing the Nikkei up 0.8 per cent.

Hong Kong rose 0.5 per cent, Sydney added 0.1 per cent and Seoul climbed 0.6 per cent.

"The data is suggesting the (US Federal Reserve) will likely raise rates in December," said Mr Michael McCarthy, the chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, in an interview with Bloomberg. "We'll probably have a couple of months of stronger data, gauging from the strength of new orders. The yen weakness is supportive of Japanese exports."

Singapore's shipping and oil and gas counters largely ended higher, as investors piled in to pick up bargains, even as oil prices tumbled 1 per cent yesterday on news that Libya and Iran had continued to ramp up production.

The decision comes ahead of an agreement by members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that they will cut output later this year.

Ezion Holdings gained a cent to 28.5 cents, Nam Cheong added 0.7 cents to 5.7 cents, Vard rose a cent to 16.9 cents and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding edged up half a cent to 75 cents.

Ezra Holdings was the second most actively traded stock, climbing 0.1 cent to 5.8 cents, with 69.8 million shares changing hands.

On Monday, Perisai Petroleum Teknologi, a firm in which Ezra has a 22.5 per cent stake, failed to repay holders of $125 million of its notes.

The top active stock was Noble Group, which added 1.5 cents to 17 cents, on a turnover of 345.4 million shares.

Most other commodity plays ended the day flat - Global Palm Resources at 29.5 cents, GMG Global at 49 cents, Golden Agri-Resources at 35.5 cents and Indofood Agri at 45 cents.

Wilmar International rose a cent to $3.22.

Banking counters also ended higher, after RHB Securities Research published a note yesterday saying that the wealth management businesses of local banks are likely to see minimal impact from Indonesia's tax amnesty programme.

DBS Group Holdings gained a cent to $15.36, OCBC Bank edged up a cent to $8.66 and United Overseas Bank rose five cents to $18.85.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore shares rise on bargain-hunting'. Print Edition | Subscribe