Singapore stocks buck global rout to open higher on Friday

SGX Centre in Raffles Place.
SGX Centre in Raffles Place. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore stock market held up on Friday (Feb 12) despite the regional and global trend of further sell-offs.

The Dow Jones shed nearly 255 points, or 1.6 per cent overnight on Thursday and Japan's Nikkei 225 extended losses this week, sinking nearly 4.5 per cent in the first hour of trading on Friday.

But the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) was up 0.6 per cent at 2,553.07 points as of 10.01 am, with oil and gas counters leading the pack.

Sembcorp Industries was up 3.4 per cent, or 8 cents at S$2.43, while Keppel Corp advanced 2.74 per cent, or 13 cents to S$4.87.

Telco stocks also inched higher with Starhub up 1.95 per cent, or 7 cents at S$3.66 and Singtel up 1.41 per cent, or 5 cents at S$3.55.

"We are seeing very strong technical support in the STI at the 2540-50 region ahead of the 2011 lows of 2521.95," said Mr Bernard Aw, a market strategist at IG Asia.

"The index has tested this support multiple times this year but was unable to push lower. This could be why the STI is bucking the regional slide today."

Nonetheless, nervousness in the global stock markets has ratcheted up, as US Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen's remarks on Thursday sparked more uncertainty than clarity, said Mr Aw.

Ms Yellen delivered a relatively upbeat assessment of the US domestic economy, and said that the Fed did not intend to cut rates back to zero.

On the other hand, she said that negative interest rates are not "off the table".

kohping@sph.com.sg