Bull And Bears

Property bulls drive STI higher

UOL adds 35 cents or 4.27% to $8.55; Big Three banks also prove to be top gainers

A rebound by the Big Three banks and a property stock rally helped local shares end the week on a positive note - a result reflected in other bourses in the region.

The Straits Times Index (STI) gained 0.9 per cent to end at 3291.29, up 2.2 per cent for the week. Regional bourses too enjoyed a rally; the Hang Seng Index put on 0.28 per cent after a holiday.

The three banks here played a major part in the gain yesterday, though the three Jardine group companies were the top gainers. UOB climbed 35 cents or 1.46 per cent to $24.36, OCBC Bank added 12 cents or 1.07 per cent to $11.37, and DBS Bank put on 17 cents or 0.8 per cent to $21.50.

But the stock that really shone was property firm UOL, which jumped 35 cents or 4.27 per cent to $8.55 with four million shares changing hands.

STI constituents Keppel Corp, Hongkong Land and City Developments also inched higher as property bulls seized on Monday's flash estimates from the Urban Redevelopment Authority as confirmation that the property bear market is over.

The estimates showed a rebound in the private residential property price index in the third quarter, for the first time in four years.

Singtel remained one of the most active counters, with a whopping 34.9 million shares changing hands although a close fight between the bulls and bears left it unchanged at $3.68. UOB KayHian analyst Jonathan Koh had noted on Wednesday: "We add SingTel on expectations of a potential special dividend in November after the successful listing of Netlink Trust in July, and to reflect a more defensive stance in the fourth quarter after the STI's 12.7 per cent year to date rise."

In the broader Singapore market, turnover climbed to $1.34 billion on volume of 2.2 billion, the strongest all week. Gainers outnumbered losers 278 to 176. Topping the actives list were penny stocks Magnus Energy, Rowsley and Artivision Tech.

Genting Singapore was the fifth most heavily traded counter, adding half a cent or 0.41 per cent to $1.21 on volume of 36.1 million. Earlier this week, DBS Group Research highlighted Genting Singapore as one of the stocks to position in as the earnings season nears again, now that its bad debts are under control. Other stocks that it named were OCBC, Sunningdale, iFAST, Thai Bev and Hi-P.

"The upcoming third-quarter results season will be crucial in determining if the STI can reach 3,400 by year end," the report said. "After the negative earnings revision in the first quarter and a mixed outcome in the second quarter... earnings upgrades are required for a re-rating of the market."

Next week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore is expected to release its bi-annual exchange rate policy statement. Economists expect the central bank to keep the Singdollar on the path of zero appreciation against a basket of key currencies.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2017, with the headline 'Property bulls drive STI higher'. Print Edition | Subscribe