Bulls And Bears

STI rides momentum to hit 21/2-year high

Key Asian markets also shine, with Japan's Nikkei hitting a 26-year peak

Local shares racked up modest gains yesterday, but it left the market at a 21/2-year high.

Despite a relatively quiet session on Wall Street, the benchmark Straits Times Index climbed 12.47 points or 0.4 per cent to 3,524.65.

That made it five days of gains out of six trading sessions this year and an impressive 3.6 per cent increase.

Some other key Asian markets also had a stellar day, with Japan's Nikkei 225 hitting a 26-year high.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.4 per cent on its 11th straight gain, and Shanghai shares rose 0.1 per cent. But it was not meant to be for Malaysia's KLCI, which dipped 0.3 per cent, and South Korea's Kospi, which fell 0.1 per cent.

"Singapore equities are riding (on a) strong upward momentum amid favourable global sentiment and upbeat economic developments," said Ms Margaret Yang of CMC Markets.

"Investors are looking forward to the earnings season."

But the bulls could tire if the rally persists. IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said that as the STI edges to the high of 3,549.85 hit on April 16, 2015, "prices may find upward movement more of a struggle".

American equity markets got off to a mixed start this week, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq finishing higher overnight on Monday while the Dow Jones fell 0.1 per cent.

Commodity prices have been holding firm, with Schroders expecting the price recovery that began in early 2016 and paused last year to continue this year.

"Underlying supply and demand balances are increasingly positive," said Mr Mark Lacey, its portfolio manager for global energy and precious metals. "For oil, and energy in general, the outlook has already improved markedly. Perhaps more importantly, the key risks for crude prices now appear to be skewed heavily to the upside."

There were 1.8 billion shares worth $1.2 billion traded here, with 237 counters up and 210 down.

Banks again led the gains with the exception of OCBC, which slipped eight cents or 0.6 per cent to $12.91.

DBS was up six cents or 0.2 per cent to $26.51 while UOB rose 55 cents or 2 per cent to $27.80.

CapitaLand had another good run, up six cents or 1.6 per cent to $3.78 after analysts lauded its move to divest 20 malls in China.

Datapulse Technology was unchanged at 37.5 cents. The firm on Monday said it will call two extraordinary general meetings by Feb 26 - one requisitioned by a co-founder's family to oust several new directors, and the other to re-evaluate a diversification plan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2018, with the headline 'STI rides momentum to hit 21/2-year high'. Print Edition | Subscribe