Bulls And Bears

S'pore traders ignore gains on Wall Street

Dow hits another record high on expectation that Trump speech will detail spending plans

The local market slid for another day after failing to take the cue from Wall Street, where investors eagerly awaited President Donald Trump's Congress speech.

The speech due this morning Singapore time is expected to reveal details of infrastructure spending that has had markets salivating.

The Dow Jones rose 0.08 per cent overnight to hit yet another record high. But the Straits Times Index (STI) closed down 12.01 points or 0.39 per cent at 3,096.61 yesterday.

KGI Securities Singapore trading strategist Nicholas Teo wondered if the local market is nearing a "pivot point" after the strong run this year.

"Many are running out of patience for Trump to actually come good on his promise on businesses and infrastructure. Added to that is the 50-50 chance (of a Federal Reserve) rate hike in March," he said.

Noble Group was one of the stocks seemingly at an inflexion point. The commodity firm has risen over the past month on news of a potential investment by Sinochem, but an Iceberg Research posting last week has doused sentiment.

It was yesterday's top active, with 298.7 million shares traded, although it ended flat at 23 cents. The firm reported a net profit for 2016 after 2015's major loss, but DBS analyst Mervin Song maintained his "hold" call, citing a worse-than-expected core performance.

There were 12 gainers among the 30 STI components. Jardine Cycle & Carriage rose $2.50 or 6.22 per cent to $42.71, after reporting a 7 per cent increase in full-year underlying net profit on Monday.

Hongkong Land Holdings gained 10 US cents or 1.49 per cent to US$6.83. Singapore Press Holdings was also up, adding two cents or 0.57 per cent to $3.50.

At the other end of the spectrum, Global Logistic Properties led the 17 losers, dropping eight cents or 2.92 per cent to $2.66 on 84.1 million traded shares. The logistics giant is in the midst of seeking buyout or investment offers, with at least three parties said to have been shortlisted.

Golden Agri-Resources lost half a cent or 1.30 per cent to 38 cents, on 38.7 million shares traded. It has been falling despite the US$400 million (S$560 million) full-year net profit reported last week.

OCBC analyst Jodie Foo kept a "hold" rating for the firm with a fair value of 38 cents, noting a potentially weak outlook for palm oil futures this year due to higher production.

Meanwhile, a string of developments unfolded outside the STI.

Air-conditioning company Natural Cool Holdings dropped one cent or 6.76 per cent to 13.8 cents, following a full-year net loss and an investigation into potential governance breaches in its paint business.

Super Group rose one cent or 0.78 per cent to $1.30, before announcing a 6 per cent drop in full-year profit. The food and beverage giant is being bought out by Jacobs Douwe Egberts, which recently cleared the last hurdles for the takeover.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore traders ignore gains on Wall Street'. Print Edition | Subscribe