Bulls And Bears

Singapore shares see marginal gains

Investors upbeat after better-than-expected US private sector jobs, factory activity data

Singapore shares rode a regional rally to end stronger yesterday, albeit with slight gains.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 4.05 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 3,240.01 - marking a weekly gain of 20.59 points or 0.64 per cent.

But turnover was lacklustre, with around 1.27 billion shares worth $953 million traded across the bourse.

Tokyo led gains in the region, rising 1.6 per cent to its highest in 21 months, backed by a softer yen, while Hong Kong put on 0.44 per cent. Shanghai was flat, inching up just 0.09 per cent, and Sydney advanced 0.87 per cent.

Investors here were upbeat after a better-than-expected set of private sector jobs data and factory activity numbers from the United States suggested growth in the world's largest economy was picking up. The same figures had sent Wall Street up by 0.65 per cent overnight. This likely raised expectations for the widely watched US non-farm payrolls figure, out early today.

Strong employment numbers "would be a refreshing boost against the backdrop of mixed data performance in the past month, and could further enliven markets ahead of the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting", noted IG market strategist Jingyi Pan.

At home, 17 of the 30 STI constituents were up, while nine fell into the red. The other four were flat.

Sats was among the top gainers, up 1.9 per cent or 10 cents to $5.25.

A number of property plays also fared well, such as Ascendas Reit, which rose 1.9 per cent or five cents to $2.69, and CapitaLand, up 1.1 per cent or four cents to $3.62.

Keppel Corporation clocked a 0.6 per cent or four-cent gain to $6.50, after it said on Thursday night that its Keppel Fels unit has inked definitive agreements with Borr Drilling to take over the construction contracts of the five jack-up rigs initially ordered by Transocean.

The local banks were a mixed bag. United Overseas Bank was up 0.6 per cent or 13 cents to $23.35 and OCBC Bank added 0.2 per cent or two cents to $10.58.

But DBS Group Holdings fell 0.8 per cent or 17 cents to $20.48.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was another laggard, dropping 3.1 per cent or four cents to $1.265.

Meanwhile, property group United Engineers extended gains, rising 2.5 per cent or seven cents to $2.83, following news on Thursday that OCBC and Great Eastern have received proposals from several parties on their combined stakes in United Engineers and WBL Corporation.

Perennial Real Estate Holdings, which also confirmed its interest in United Engineers on the same day, advanced 1.1 per cent or one cent to 91 cents.

The day's most traded stock was Disa, which sank 4.2 per cent or 0.1 cent to 2.3 cents on 130.4 million shares done.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore shares see marginal gains'. Print Edition | Subscribe