Bulls And Bears

STI shrugs off geopolitical jitters to inch up

But many investors holding back, preferring to wait for US non-farm payroll numbers

Singapore shares ended a tad higher yesterday after shrugging off geopolitical jitters and a weak lead from Wall Street following lacklustre US private payroll data.

The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 0.08 per cent or 2.67 points higher at 3,229.01, and up 0.07 per cent for the week.

The index was boosted by ComfortDelGro, which gained 1.3 per cent or three cents to $2.26, and Golden Agri-Resources, which rose 1.3 per cent or 0.5 cent to 38 cents.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding chipped in as well, up 1.2 per cent or 1.5 cents to $1.25, while Sats gained 0.8 per cent or four cents to $5.10.

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Many investors stayed out of the action, preferring to await non- farm payroll numbers from the United States, which were released at 8.30pm yesterday.

Banks clawed back some gains after a choppy session following uncertainty over the US rate hike outlook after Fed officials appeared divided over the next step. DBS Group gained 0.4 per cent or nine cents to $20.83, OCBC Group rose 0.4 per cent or four cents to $10.69, and United Overseas Bank edged up 0.1 per cent or three cents to $23.22.

Traders were also wary about the Group of 20 meeting this weekend where a clash is expected between US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Meanwhile, local energy plays were hit by weaker oil prices after data showed US production rose last week just as Opec exports hit a new high this year, casting doubt on efforts by producers to curb oversupply. Keppel Corp shed 0.3 per cent or two cents to $6.38, KrisEnergy slipped 3.2 per cent or 0.4 cent to 12 cents and Ezion Holdings dropped 2.1 per cent or 0.5 cent to 23.5 cents.

Sembcorp Marine eased 0.9 per cent or 1.5 cents at $1.67 after it agreed with its client North Atlantic Drilling to extend the delivery of a semi-submersible drilling rig by another six months. Said an analyst: "The standstill agreement for the delivery of the West Rigel rig has been delayed for the fifth time."

Noble Group remained the most actively traded counter, sinking 10.2 per cent or 6.5 cents to 57.5 cents, with 40.3 million shares traded.

A dealer said: "A tug of war between bulls and bears will ensue in the near term as Noble continues its search for a strategic investor."

Moya Asia gained 2.7 per cent or 0.3 cent to 11.6 cents, on trade of 36.1 million shares. Vallianz was flat at 1.5 cents, with 29.8 million shares traded while logistics company GKE Corp fell 1.1 per cent or 0.2 cent to 17.8 cents, on turnover of 27.2 million shares.

A weak finish on Thursday on the tech-heavy US Nasdaq Composite weighed on local tech manufacturing counters. Jadason Enterprises lost 0.9 per cent or 0.1 cent to 10.5 cents, with 23.9 million shares traded. Venture Corp shed 0.8 per cent or nine cents to $11.80 and AEM Holdings fell 0.9 per cent or two cents to $2.32.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2017, with the headline 'STI shrugs off geopolitical jitters to inch up'. Print Edition | Subscribe