Bulls And Bears

Volume, value in S'pore market sink amid trading halt

Half-day closure due to technical glitches; buoyant Asian markets again extend gains

Trading volume and value in the Singapore market yesterday hit their lowest level this year, after a major outage led to a significantly shortened session.

With the half-day trading closure owing to technical faults, only 538.7 million shares worth $335.2 million changed hands - about a third of recent averages.

When trading was halted, the Straits Times Index had lost 3.73 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 2,906.92.

"We were expecting the market to be back up at 2pm, but it didn't happen. Then again at 4pm, and it still didn't happen. It was quite bad," said remisier Desmond Leong, who was watching the market from home yesterday. "I guess I didn't miss much."

He noted that while technical glitches do happen, it would have been better if the bourse operator reopened trading, even if it was just for 30 minutes. "If I had to do contra trades, that 30 minutes would mean a lot to me," he said, adding that he expects trading today to be more volatile than usual as traders pick up where they left off during the outage.

Oil and gas play Annica Holdings was the day's most heavily traded, closing flat at 0.1 cent on 85.8 million shares done. Other actives included Noble Group nil-paid rights, which added 0.1 cent or 2.1 per cent to 4.9 cents on its last day of trading, and Resources Prima Group, which soared 0.9 cent or 20 per cent to 5.4 cents. Jet fuel supplier China Aviation Oil sank 3.5 cents or 2.4 per cent to $1.45 after an intraday high of $1.515, while coal mining group Geo Energy Resources jumped 1.1 cents or 9 per cent to 13.3 cents.

Postal company Singapore Post finished flat at $1.57, after it called for a trading halt at 10.30am, pending the outcome of its annual general meeting in the afternoon.

It was business as usual elsewhere in the region. Asian markets extended gains for the fourth straight session, still driven by optimism that global policymakers will roll out further stimulus measures.

Tokyo added 0.95 per cent on a weaker yen, as traders held on to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's promise of a new round of stimulus efforts. The Nikkei 225 has erased all the losses it sustained in the wake of Britain's shock vote to leave the European Union. Hong Kong rose 1.12 per cent and Sydney grew 0.43 per cent. Shanghai pared 0.22 per cent after trade figures showed sluggish consumer demand.

The overall buoyant sentiment was likely helped by Wall Street's 0.13 per cent overnight gain.

"The recent rally we've had post the Brexit news is anticipation of additional stimulus," Mr George Boubouras, chief investment officer of Contango Asset Management in Melbourne, told Bloomberg. "Stimulus will remain as a pre-condition for most economies. There's no alternative to risk assets, you've got to go somewhere at the end of the day."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2016, with the headline 'Volume, value in S'pore market sink amid trading halt'. Print Edition | Subscribe