With the rapidly growing interest in stock investing, The Straits Times is collaborating with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) to improve market information available to readers. It will devote a page every Monday to providing a snapshot (see facing page) of how the local financial market performed in the previous week.
The page will include information such as the last closing prices of all the stocks that make up the Straits Times Index, the FTSE ST Mid-Cap Index and the FTSE ST Small-Cap Index, and how these prices have moved over the past week, and the top weekly gainers, losers and most active. While ST provides most of this information daily, the new page offers last closing prices of investment products such as exchange-traded funds, bonds, Singapore Government Securities (SGS) and stock index futures.
Accompanying the page will be regular weekly ST columns such as Markets Insight and Brokers' Call, so investors can be well-informed before markets open for the week.
The introduction of this weekly snapshot comes as more retail investors are participating in equity and bond markets, amid increasing awareness of the need for retirement planning.
SGX has taken steps in recent years to ease retail investors' access to stock markets, such as by cutting board lot sizes from 1,000 to 100, making it cheaper for an investor to buy one lot of any given stock.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore is opening up bond investing to retail investors, recently launching the mass-market Singapore Savings Bonds, which generated a lot of interest.
A glance at a price page can be quite telling, said SGX market strategist Geoff Howie. A lot of plus signs next to the stock and product prices - indicating that prices have moved up - suggest a bullish week.
Several minus signs suggest a bearish week.
"The pluses and minuses represent a wide variety of reasons, from stories of investability and safe tradable opportunities to corporate activities and even emotion and sentiment," Mr Howie said.
Daily price pages can also tell a longer-term story, he added.
"Fifty years ago, the Straits Times grouped stocks based on industrials, properties, mining, rubber and a handful of unit trusts.
"Today, the stock market is much larger and made up of more varied-sized businesses and, correspondingly, a much wider range of sectors and products."
Today's price report has been grouped by stocks and portfolio products.
Stocks are grouped according to the three biggest indexes that represent the most actively traded stocks on the SGX.
Portfolio products on the daily price page include 19 excluded investment product (EIP) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that can be bought and sold without the prerequisite completed Customer Account Review or Specified Investment Products quiz.
Other portfolio products include SGS, bonds and the international stock index futures.
Since Sept 1, daily closing prices of all securities, including EIP ETFs, are also published in The Business Times from Monday to Friday, and in the flagship Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao from Tuesday to Saturday.
Together with SGX, The New Paper on Sunday started an investor education series yesterday.