Bulls And Bears

STI rallies on feel-good factor

Singtel, banks and major property firms drive up index for second straight day

Banks, property heavyweights and telco Singtel continued to feel the love for a second straight session yesterday.

The optimistic mood drove the Straits Times Index up 44.81 points or 1.57 per cent to 2,896.55.

Singtel was a key factor in the surge, rising 2 per cent or eight cents to $4.030, while the banks chipped in as well. UOB gained 2.1 per cent or 39 cents to $18.65, DBS jumped 1.2 per cent or 18 cents to $15.43, and OCBC rose 1.3 per cent or 11 cents to $8.82.

Banks are back in favour after the Monetary Authority of Singapore said last Friday that it was fine-tuning Total Debt Servicing Ratio rules to make it easier for borrowers with existing home loans to refinance mortgages and pay off debts at lower interest rates.

"This means more mortgage refinancing can be concluded now, which is good for banks and property stocks," remisier Alvin Yong said.

CapitaLand rose 2.2 per cent or seven cents to $3.23, HongKong Land gained 1.8 per cent or 12 US cents to US$6.80, and City Developments jumped 3 per cent or 27 cents to $9.23.

Singtel extended gains after UOB Kay Hian joined several brokerages in recommending buying the telco "on weakness and its improved dividend yield as it is least affected by increased competition " from a possible fourth provider.

Whether the feel-good effect on the STI can continue will depend on whether production caps are achieved during the Opec meeting of oil producers later this month.

Local energy counters rallied as Brent crude prices rose after Russia and Saudi Arabia pledged to cooperate to stabilise global markets.

Rex International surged nearly 15 per cent or 0.7 cents to 5.4 cents, with 38.7 million shares traded, after the firm sought to distance itself from distressed energy companies by saying it "remains financially sound" and "cash positive with no long-term loans and borrowings". The company said it had US$68.51 million (S$92.9 million) in liquid assets comprising cash, cash equivalents and investments as at June 30.

Noble Group was again the most actively traded, as short-covering drove the counter up 12 per cent or 1.5 cents to 14 cents, with nearly 434 million shares traded. Charisma Energy surged 28.6 per cent or 0.2 cent to 0.9 cent, with 15.9 million shares traded. Ezion jumped 4 per cent or one cent to 26 cents, with 16.35 million shares traded. Keppel Corp rose 1.9 per cent or 10 cents to $5.37 and Sembcorp Marine gained 2.3 per cent or three cents to $1.31.

Other actively traded counters included Thai Beverage, which fell 1.5 per cent or 1.5 cents to 97.5 cents, with 36.7 million shares traded.

Jasper Investments was flat at 0.4 cent with 36.2 million shares traded after it said it had begun talks with third parties to undertake infrastructure projects for the construction of the new Hainan International Airport in China.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'STI rallies on feel-good factor'. Print Edition | Subscribe