Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares stay up as global markets rally

STI marks third day of gains, with 'Trump rally' back on track as investor concerns ease

Singapore equities stayed on an upward course yesterday as stock markets rallied across the globe.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) grew 11.24 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 3,111.63 - its third straight day of gains.

Elsewhere in the region, Shanghai rose 0.63 per cent, Hong Kong advanced 0.58 per cent and Tokyo added 0.41 per cent.

The "Trump rally" appears to be back on track as investor concerns eased, following United States President Donald Trump's smooth meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week. Mr Trump's recent backing of the "one China" policy also helped alleviate worries over US trade ties with Asia.

Wall Street touched a record high last Friday after rising 0.48 per cent. Traders expect details of Mr Trump's tax plan in the coming weeks - where a reduction in regulations and a lift in fiscal stimulus may help boost companies.

The US dollar could also rally if US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen suggests a March interest rate hike is still on the cards when she speaks in Congress this week, Bloomberg strategists said.

Of the 30 STI constituents, 20 finished stronger, six racked up losses and four were flat.

Telco Singtel was among the biggest winners, rising five cents or 1.3 per cent to $3.96. A Maybank Kim Eng report maintained its "hold" call on the stock, noting that its latest set of results was in line with its estimate, and much better than its rivals. "Still, given heightening competition... we can expect stable performance at best," it added.

Palm oil giant Golden Agri-Resources gained half a cent or 1.2 per cent to 43 cents as commodity prices rallied.

The three local banks were mixed ahead of their earnings reports this week. United Overseas Bank put on 16 cents or 0.8 per cent to $21.07 while OCBC Bank was flat at $9.75. DBS Group Holdings slipped six cents or 0.3 per cent to $18.91.

KGI said in a morning note: "The banks have rallied more than 15 per cent half-year on half-year as optimism on higher interest rates is expected to boost profits. However, markets may be watching for more details of their exposure to the troubled oil and gas sector."

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which flagged a "high level of uncertainty" on the policy stance of the US administration in its latest earnings report, sank 2.5 US cents or 5.7 per cent to 41.5 US cents.

Outside of the blue chips, Pacific Century Regional Developments soared five cents or 14.7 per cent to 39 cents, after announcing that its associate PCCW said it will sell a 11.1 per cent stake, worth HK$8.53 billion (S$1.56 billion), in Hong Kong's largest telecoms company.

Equation Summit was the day's most active counter, sliding 0.1 cent or 2.9 per cent to 3.3 cents, on 369.1 million shares done. Turnover across the bourse was 3.26 billion shares worth $1.33 billion.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore shares stay up as global markets rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe