Bulls And Bears

STI passes 3,300-point mark

Greenback falters again as US Senate fails to get healthcare reform Bill off the ground

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) yesterday crossed the 3,300-point mark to close at 3,306.08 - a gain of 7.84 points or 0.24 per cent.

This came as the greenback slumped to a fresh low, opening Asian equities to capital in-flow.

The STI's performance was matched by muted gains in the Hang Seng and the mainland Chinese markets, following Monday's small-cap tumble, although elsewhere in Asia, Japan returned from a three-day weekend to a 0.59 per cent slide on the Nikkei 225.

The tide on the Singapore Exchange once more lifted Global Logistic Properties, which gained two cents or 0.6 per cent to finish at $3.33 a share.

This still comes in under the offer price of $3.38 a share that was made in a Chinese consortium's bid for the warehouse operator last week. There is also an upcoming six-cent dividend.

Coal trader Sincap rose again, and the counter continued to lead Singapore stocks in trading volume. It ended the day at 3.3 cents, an increase of 0.3 cent or 10 per cent.

Another actively-traded stock was underground utilities infrastructure firm Ley Choon Group Holdings, which rose 0.3 cent or 5.36 per cent to close at 5.9 cents.

It was a mixed bag for local banks, with DBS Group leading the pack at $21.80, for a gain of 36 cents or 1.68 per cent. United Overseas Bank closed eight cents or 0.33 per cent higher at $24.08.

But OCBC Bank shed one cent or 0.09 per cent to close at $11.08.

Singtel shares also slipped by one cent, closing 0.26 per cent lower at $3.90. The telecommunications company is divesting itself of its NetLink NBN Trust fibre broadband unit in a $2.3 billion initial public offering, with trading set to begin on the SGX today.

The day's fourth-most traded stock by value was Singapore Press Holdings, which fell by eight cents or 2.64 per cent to $2.95. This drop came on the back of a 45.2 per cent fall in third-quarter net profit. OCBC Investment Research head Carmen Lee has lowered her fair value estimate for the stock to $3.25, from $3.34 in late June.

More broadly, IG Asia analyst Pan Jingyi forecast yesterday in a morning note that Asian markets should "hold relatively steady in anticipation of fresh leads".

Those include the dim prospects for the depreciating US dollar, which has faltered in the wake of the United States Senate's struggle to pass a Republican-led healthcare reform Bill.

Sydney-based currency strategist Rodrigo Catril told Bloomberg: "Any hopes of dollar support from a successful vote on the Senate's healthcare Bill look to be vanishing." He added that, in the near term, "the dollar path of least resistance is down".

The European Central Bank is due to meet tomorrow, after the euro hit a 14-month high yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2017, with the headline 'STI passes 3,300-point mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe