Bulls and bears

S'pore shares end flat amid Asian bounce

STI dips in quiet session despite rebound in crude prices, record showing by US indexes

Most Asian stock bourses bounced back yesterday on the rebound in crude prices but Singapore failed to make the winners' circle.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed flat in a quiet session, dipping 2.42 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 2,867.4, despite opening higher in the morning - but it was still up 39.23 points, or 1.39 per cent, for the week.

"We are getting close to the end of earnings season and the dust is almost settled," Ms Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore, told The Straits Times.

"The second-quarter corporate earnings so far have been generally mixed, with few positive surprises.

"Investors are cautiously assessing the impact of the oil and gas downturn on local banks, and questioning the sustainability of dividend payouts from local companies amid the challenging environment."

Some of the biggest laggards included ComfortDelGro, which lost six cents or 2.1 per cent to $2.86, and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, down 1.5 cents or 1.9 per cent to 77 cents.


ST GRAPHICS

Palm-oil giant Golden Agri-Resources fell half a cent or 1.3 per cent to 37 cents. The group posted an almost fourfold surge in net profit to US$39.5 million for the second quarter yesterday, thanks to a deferred tax income, although revenue dipped 4.9 per cent to US$1.7 billion. On the other hand, airport services and inflight catering company Sats rose 12 cents or 2.6 per cent to $4.82, while StarHub added eight cents or 2.1 per cent to $3.89.

Commodity trader Noble Group retained its spot as the day's most active, sliding 0.7 cent or 4.5 per cent to 14.8 cents on 134.9 million shares done. The group reported a second-quarter loss of US$54.9 million on Thursday, compared with earnings of US$62.6 million in the same period a year ago.

A DBS Group Research report said it maintains a "hold" call on the group, as "it will take time for Noble to restore confidence in its business model, given negative operating cashflows, volatile profits and various credit agencies placing Noble on a negative outlook".

Only 1.02 billion shares worth $915.8 million were traded across the bourse yesterday.

Markets elsewhere in Asia fared better as oil prices climbed to cross US$46 a barrel. Tokyo reopened after a holiday with a 1.1 per cent gain to reach its highest in two months, boosted by a weaker yen, while Shanghai rose 1.6 per cent and Hong Kong grew 0.82 per cent as investors shrugged off lacklustre economic data from China.

Wall Street recorded a spate of records overnight, powered by oil prices and better-than-expected earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.64 per cent, joining S&P 500, which added 0.47 per cent, at all-time highs, while the Nasdaq Composite Index put on 0.46 per cent.

It was the first time since 1999 that the three US stock indexes closed at record highs simultaneously.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore shares end flat amid Asian bounce'. Print Edition | Subscribe