Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares up in line with regional rally

But energy-related stocks fall on drop in oil prices following news of more oil rigs in US

Singapore equities had a buoyant start to the week yesterday.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 13.8 points or 0.44 per cent to 3,147.15. A total of 1.34 billion shares worth $1.07 billion changed hands across the bourse.

The solid showing was largely in line with other markets in the region, where gains were led by Hong Kong, which put on 1.11 per cent.

Shanghai advanced 0.76 per cent, Tokyo climbed 0.15 per cent and Seoul added 0.97 per cent.

A strong set of non-farm payroll numbers in the US last Friday has bolstered market expectations of an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve's meeting this week, sending Wall Street higher by 0.21 per cent.

"(The data) signalled that the United States economy is hitting full employment and that inflation is nearing its target, which might lead to accelerated rate normalisation this year," said Ms Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.

Meanwhile, a drop in crude oil prices following news that the number of oil rigs in the US has continued to increase weighed on energy-related stocks, including those in Singapore.

Keppel Corporation lost 1.6 per cent or 11 cents to $6.75. Sembcorp Industries slid 1.2 per cent or four cents to $3.18, while its rig-building unit Sembcorp Marine dropped 2.9 per cent or 5.5 cents to $1.86.

Offshore services company Ezra Holdings continued to feel the heat, sinking 7.7 per cent or 0.1 cent to 1.2 cents.

The group on Sunday announced that Hai Jiang 1401 has demanded a claim of US$194.5 million (S$274 million) as the termination sum of a bareboat charter on a pipelay vessel, Lewek Champion, for which Ezra is guarantor. Ezra, which was served the notice of termination on March 9, has 15 days from the date of the notice to make the payment.

Elsewhere on the bourse, cash trust Saizen Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) crashed by 44.2 per cent or 2.3 cents to 2.9 cents after it said last Friday that a proposed reverse takeover by Sime Darby Property had fallen through.

The manager of the former Japanese residential property trust said it was not possible to complete the proposed transaction by the long- stop date of the implementation agreement, or March 31.

"The manager will commence liquidation proceedings for Saizen Reit upon the mutual termination of the implementation agreement, and will make relevant announcements to keep unit-holders updated as appropriate on the next steps," it said.

Separately, Sincap Group requested a trading halt around noon, pending an announcement. The counter last traded at 1.1 cents.

The day's most hotly-traded counter was Disa, formerly known as Equation Summit, which ended flat at 3.1 cents on 83.2 million shares done.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore shares up in line with regional rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe