Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares thrive amid region-wide rally

Buoyant sentiment helped in part by strong Wall St showing as well as higher crude prices

The Singapore market continued to gain ground yesterday as part of a region-wide rally on the back of higher crude prices.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 45.05 points, or 1.65 per cent, to 2,781.11.

NetResearch Asia said in a note: "Singapore shares firmed up from noon, as soon as buyers detected selling fatigue in some counters and took the market higher from there."

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo grew 1.13 per cent, Hong Kong added 1.18 per cent and Sydney put on 0.69 per cent.

Shanghai was an outlier, slipping 0.25 per cent after President Xi Jinping said on Monday that China will step up structural and financial reforms, fuelling worries that Beijing may not push out further monetary stimulus.

The buoyant sentiment in the region was helped in part by a positive showing on Wall Street, which added 1 per cent overnight.

"Markets seem to be in a relatively sweet spot with a steadily stronger US dollar and resilient commodities prices," Mr Angus Nicholson, a Melbourne-based market analyst at IG, told Bloomberg.

"Many investors have been predicting a pullback in markets, but despite all the negativity, markets have continued to grind higher."

Of the 30 STI constituents, 25 clocked gains - led by oil and gas-related plays.

Sembcorp Marine surged 11.5 cents or 7.6 per cent to $1.63, while parent company Sembcorp Industries jumped 15 cents or 5.8 per cent to $2.75. Keppel Corporation shot up 31 cents or 6.1 per cent to $5.42.

The banks also did well. OCBC Bank rose 17 cents or 2.1 per cent to $8.46, United Overseas Bank pushed 37 cents or 2.1 per cent higher to $17.96 and DBS Group Holdings advanced 17 cents or 1.1 per cent to $15.10.

Property group City Developments added 46 cents or 5.8 per cent to $8.46, while Thai Beverage extended its winning streak, rising 4.5 cents or 5.4 per cent to 87.5 cents.

On the flip side, casino operator Genting Singapore fell 1.5 cents or 1.9 per cent to 75.5 cents. It reported on Friday a 83 per cent dive in first-quarter earnings to $10.8 million.

Singapore Airlines dropped 17 cents or 1.6 per cent to $10.63, while ComfortDelGro Corporation fell three cents or 1.1 per cent to $2.79. Maybank Kim Eng in a report said it remains cautious on ComfortDelGro due to the structural threats to its taxi business, although it maintains a "hold" call on the stock.

Annica Holdings, which closed unchanged, was again the day's top active on a volume of 211.9 million shares. A total of 1.8 billion shares worth $1.18 billion changed hands across the bourse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore shares thrive amid region-wide rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe