Singapore equities put in a better showing yesterday as a number of key Asian bourses resumed trading.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 6.03 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 3,210.82, snapping a three-day losing streak. Turnover across the bourse picked up significantly, with 1.56 billion shares worth $ 1.96 billion being traded.
Sentiment was likely boosted by data that showed factory activity in China beat expectations. Shanghai rose 0.23 per cent as it reopened after a holiday, although Hong Kong was down 0.16 per cent and Tokyo eased 0.14 per cent.
Still, Ms Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore, noted that Singapore shares appear to have entered into a consolidation phase after nearly four months of rallying. "Favourable corporate earnings and better-than-expected economic data have been fully digested by market participants and priced into its current valuation," she said. "Weak crude oil prices and a potential slowdown in China's economic activities also make the future outlook more complicated."
The local banks were in play, with OCBC Bank gaining 0.8 per cent or eight cents to $10.49. However, DBS Group Holdings shed 0.6 per cent or 13 cents to $20.47, and United Overseas Bank dipped 0.5 per cent or 11 cents to $22.98.
Moody's Investors Service has changed its outlook for Singapore's banking system from "negative" to "stable". This reflects "improving growth conditions and stabilising commodity prices that will limit a further weakening in asset quality and profitability", it said yesterday.
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) fell 1.5 per cent or 11 cents to $7.27, despite news that the bourse operator has inked a memorandum of intent with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to streamline the pathway for fast-growing IMDA-accredited companies to draw on private and public capital markets here for expansion.
Elsewhere, Noble Group sank 6.6 per cent or 2.5 cents to 35.5 cents. DBS analyst Mervin Song said in a report he expects Noble to be able to refinance its upcoming borrowing base facility this month, contrary to the market views.
"As long as CIC (a Chinese sovereign wealth fund) remains a shareholder, which may provide some hope for Noble's bankers that a key backer will provide support in the worst-case scenario, Noble should be able to refinance its credit facilities, albeit smaller in size and with higher borrowing costs," he said.
But the research unit is still suspending coverage on the commodity trader, given uncertainty over the outcome of the group's strategic review, the impact from the recent credit rating downgrades as well as risks that it continues to report losses into next year.
Biomedical company QT Vascular, which received a trading query by the SGX in the morning, surged 12.1 per cent or 0.4 cent to 3.7 cents on 135.3 million shares done.