Bulls and bears

STI makes gains amid mixed regional trading

Investors mull over sustainablility of China's rebound; many cautious ahead of Doha talks

Asian markets were mixed yesterday as traders weighed a slew of data from China while taking a more cautious stance ahead of the Doha oil-freeze talks this weekend.

The local Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 10.01 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 2,923.94 - finishing a hefty 115.62 points, or 4.1 per cent, higher for the week. This was the STI's best week in more than a month.

Hong Kong pared 0.1 per cent and Shanghai fell 0.14 per cent, even as figures showed China's gross domestic demand grew in line with market forecasts.

Analysts warned that the nascent signs of recovery in China's economy could put a cap on further monetary easing.

"The Chinese government will feel that the existing policies are working," Mr Andrew Sullivan, managing director for sales trading at Haitong International Securities Group, told Bloomberg. "So there is less potential for more easing in the short term."


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Mr Ben Kwong, a director at brokerage KGI Asia in Hong Kong, said: "Investors are still sceptical of the sustainability of such an improvement. There's some profit-taking pressure because of cumulative gains in a row."

Meanwhile, Tokyo lost 0.37 per cent after news of an earthquake that hit southern Japan on Thursday, killing at least nine people.

Seoul dipped 0.06 per cent, while Sydney added 0.76 per cent and Kuala Lumpur inched up 0.24 per cent.

In the United States, Wall Street was little changed, edging up just 0.1 per cent overnight as corporates kept rolling out earnings reports.

At home, Singapore Technologies Engineering was among the better performers, rising seven cents, or 2.1 per cent, to $3.35. Telco Singtel advanced three cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $3.84, while Ascendas Reit grew five cents, or 2 per cent, to $2.52.

Commodity plays also racked up modest gains, with Golden Agri- Resources adding half a cent, or 1.2 per cent, to 42 cents, and Wilmar International inching up two cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $3.50.

Meanwhile, property group Hongkong Land Holdings slid nine US cents, or 1.4 per cent, to US$6.30, while Singapore Airlines eased nine cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $11.39.

Outside of the STI, GuocoLand jumped 7.5 cents, or 4.1 per cent, to $1.91, after a report by The Business Times said the developer is an attractive candidate for privatisation.

Event services provider CityNeon soared 5.5 cents, or 11.1 per cent, to 55 cents. The counter was queried by the Singapore Exchange after trading volume outstripped its daily traded volume of 2.1 million shares within just hours after the markets opened.

Offshore marine and subsea group Ezra Holdings was again the day's most heavily traded. It shed 0.2 cent, or 1.9 per cent, to 10.4 cents on a volume of 74.6 million shares.

Turnover across the bourse was a lacklustre 942.1 million units worth $840.3 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'STI makes gains amid mixed regional trading '. Print Edition | Subscribe