Bulls And Bears

Singapore bourse bucks regional fall

Investors shrug off poor outlook after G-20 meeting ends without clear solutions

The Singapore stock market defied the regional sell-off yesterday, steering a path that stayed clear of dour sentiment led by China.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 17.13 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 2,666.51, following a shaky session.

Equities elsewhere in Asia took a hit. Shanghai dived 2.9 per cent to its lowest in a month, after narrowing losses from as much as 4.6 per cent during the session, while Hong Kong dropped 1.3 per cent.

Tokyo slipped 1 per cent, Seoul dipped 0.2 per cent and Sydney was flat with a tiny 0.02 per cent increase.

"There was little coming out of the G-20 to suggest major improvements in the policy mix of the most systemically important countries," Mr Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, wrote in a Bloomberg View column yesterday.

The two-day Group of 20 meetings in Shanghai had concluded over the weekend without specific measures to boost growth.

"With little hope for major policy changes, global economic growth will continue to struggle, the trifecta of national inequality (of income, wealth and opportunity) will worsen, and financial volatility will increase."

The lacklustre sentiment mirrored that on Wall Street, which slid 0.3 per cent last Friday on worries that interest rates may rise sooner than expected.

At home, the gains came largely on the back of a jump in Jardine Matheson Holdings, which rose US$1.72, or 3 per cent, to US$58.22. The stock has been included in the MSCI Hong Kong Index starting today.

Aerospace and defence conglomerate Singapore Technologies Engineering went up 14 cents, or 4.9 per cent, to $2.99, despite posting weaker results for the full year to Dec 31 last Friday.

CIMB Research analyst Lim Siew Khee in a report yesterday upgraded her call on the stock from "hold" to "add", noting its valuation is "starting to look attractive".

Real estate plays also did well, with CapitaLand Mall Trust adding three cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $2.19, and CapitaLand advancing four cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $2.98. Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) gained two cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $2.42.

Leading losses on the other side of the ledger was commodities trader Noble Group, which sank one cent, or 2.8 per cent, to 34.5 cents.

This followed news that Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has cut its long-term corporate credit rating on the company from "BB+" to "BB-", with a negative outlook.

Ezra Holdings was the day's most active, with 188.7 million shares changing hands. The stock rose 0.3 cent, or 4.9 per cent, to 6.4 cents.

A total of 1.51 billion shares worth $2.62 billion were traded across the bourse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore bourse bucks regional fall'. Print Edition | Subscribe