Heavyweights keep Singapore bourse in positive territory, STI closes 12 points up

SINGAPORE - A strong showing by index heavyweights including Genting Singapore and Singtel and a recovery in Chinese equities helped keep Singapore shares in positive territory on Thursday.

The Straits Times Index closed up 0.41 per cent or 12.41 points to 3,038.11.

Positive spillover from surprisingly strong third-quarter earnings from Marina Bay Sands helped lift Genting Singapore by more than 7 per cent or 5.5 cents to 83.5 cents. Some 55.6 million shares were traded.

Maybank Kim Eng, which maintained a buy call on the stock, noted: "What interests us more is that the 3Q15 MBS mass market gross gaming revenue hints that 3Q15 Resorts World Sentosa mass market gross gaming revenue may also be stable."

"Even so, we take the opportunity to revise our estimates to reflect lower VIP volume post-2016 due to (fewer) Chinese VIPs," analyst Yin Shao Yang said.

Other gainers include Singtel, which gained 0.8 per cent or three cents to $3.93, and UOB, which rose 0.6 per cent or 13 cents to $20.23.

A bout of strong buying in small cap stocks helped lift Shanghai by 1.45 per cent and Shenzhen by 3.71 per cent. Investors are holding out hope that China would announce further stimulus after the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's fifth plenary session starts next Monday, remisier Alvin Yong said.

A key focus of the market will be on the average growth rate that the government sets for the next five years. Expectations are that the targeted rate will be lowered from the current 7 per cent.

Penny counters remain the most actively traded, with Asia-Pacific Strategic Investments plunging 53 per cent or 1.7 cents to 1.5 cents with 81.7 million shares traded, as it went ex-rights. The company is giving shareholders the option to buy two rights shares for every one share they hold and one warrant for every one rights share subscribed.

Rowsley gained 5.8 per cent or 1.1 cent to 20 cents, with 70.8 million shares traded. "It's speculative interest after it converted Vantage Bay, its mixed residential project, into a healthcare-related cluster," Mr Yong said.

The real estate vehicle of Billionaire Peter Lim will be announcing its third-quarter earnings ended Sep 30 after trading hours on Nov 4.

Shares of Informatics Education skyrocketed 41 per cent or 1.6 cents to 5.5 cents, with 66.8 million shares traded.

Meanwhile, shares of The Singapore Exchange gained 0.5 per cent or four cents to $7.55 after it posted better-than-expected first quarter 2016 results.

SGX net profit rose 28 per cent to $99.3 million from a year ago, as operating revenue jumped 30.1 per cent to $219.6 million. Operating revenue from securities grew 13.8 per cent to $55.9 million as the daily average trading value for securities jumped 27 per cent year-on-year to $1.23 billion.

OCBC Investment Research, which upgraded its call to buy, said it "expects SGX's derivatives business to continue to spearhead growth and we are projecting a 25.5 per cent increase in derivatives revenue in full year 2016."

gleong@sph.com.sg