Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares up in mixed day across Asia

STI rides wave of optimism following positive US data and hopes of economic turnaround

Singapore shares rose again despite a mixed showing across the region as local investors took their cue from Wall Street gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 per cent overnight, following news that the United States' new home sales last month rose to the highest level since October 2007.

Analysts say this may give more assurance to the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates next month, but investors still cheered over fresh signs of a US economic turnaround.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index rode that wave of optimism, closing 19.14 points or 0.67 per cent higher at 2,869.57. Some $792.3 million worth of shares changed hands across the market.

Tokyo rose 0.61 per cent but Hong Kong slid 0.77 per cent, while Shanghai pared 0.12 per cent.

"The local market was not doing too bad. Part of it was (because of) the Dow Jones; there may be some bargain hunting also," remisier Alvin Yong said. "What may also have boosted the sentiment was the Singapore Exchange decision to tweak the minimum trading price rules... this was really encouraging news. "

The bourse proposed on Tuesday to tweak the 20-cent MTP rule so that mainboard firms with a six-month average daily market cap of over $40 million would not go on the watch list, no matter what their share price.

The SGX itself was among the 23 STI gainers yesterday, adding three cents or 0.39 per cent to $7.70. The top gainer was CapitaLand, closing up seven cents or 2.28 per cent at $3.14, followed by Sembcorp Industries, which put on five cents or 1.83 per cent to $2.78.

Sembcorp Marine rose one cent or 0.75 per cent to $1.335. The offshore and marine firm on Tuesday unveiled a US$115 million (S$155 million) deal to buy full control in PPL Shipyard, which came just days after Sembcorp Marine's decision to buy Norwegian naval architecture firm LMG Marin for US$20 million.

Singapore Press Holdings was also among the gainers, closing up one cent or 0.26 per cent at $3.82.

Six STI counters lost ground, with Thai Beverage the top loser, shedding two cents or 1.98 per cent to 99 cents on 26.3 million shares done. Golden Agri-Resources slid half a cent or 1.35 per cent to 36.5 cents on 13.4 million shares done. Noble Group, which ended flat at 12.9 cents, was the top active, on 78 million shares done. CNMC Goldmine added 3.5 cents or 6.19 per cent to 60 cents on 27.1 million transacted shares. The Malaysia-based gold miner said on Tuesday it had won approval for its operation at the Sokor gold field, with its mining lease extended to December 2034.

KGI Fraser Securities analyst Renfred Tay kept a buy call with a 82-cent target price. "With the approval and mining lease extension, we believe the key investor worry has been lifted… With better earnings visibility, we expect the huge discount between CNMC and its peers to narrow,'' he said in a note.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore shares up in mixed day across Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe