Singapore bourse recoups lost ground, STI closes 25 points up

SINGAPORE - Local shares recouped some lost grounds on Tuesday to snap a five-day losing streak, but sentiments will remain jittery amid economic uncertainties and the market is unlikely to see big gains in the coming days.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) put on 25.15 points or 0.85 per cent to 2,999.56, following a 3.5 per cent drop since last Tuesday.

But it was still a mostly quiet session, with just 220.41 million shares transacted among the blue chip counters. Across the whole market, 1.3 billion shares worth S$809.3 million were traded, marking activities mostly in the small and mid-cap segment.

The top active stock was real estate and architecture firm Rowsley, which went up 0.8 cents or 4.19 per cent to 19.9 cents, with 73.4 million shares changing hands.

The company - known for its billionaire shareholder Peter Lim - will announce its third quarter results today, amid the positive sentiments in recent months following news of its investments in Manchester and the healthcare city project in Johor Bahru.

Agricultural play Japfa was up 5.5 cents or 13.75 per cent to 45.5 cents, stretching its gain to a third day after announcing better-than-expected earnings for the three months to Sept 30.

In a note, DBS analyst Ben Santoso reiterated his buy call for Japfa with a 90-cent target price, saying: "Japfa intends to double dairy farm production capacity in China by constructing another five farm hubs in Inner Mongolia. Demand will continue to be driven by rising per capita income."

Among the blue chips, Noble Group was the top gainer after an active day. It went up two cents or 4.17 per cent to 50 cents, and its volume hit 54.3 million shares. The company will announce its results on Nov 12.

All three banks gained yesterday, with DBS moving 35 cents or 2.03 per cent up to close at S$17.6. OCBC ended 19 cents or 2.12 per cent higher at S$9.14, and United Overseas Bank put on 12 cents or 0.59 per cent to close at S$20.3.

CIMB analyst Jessalynn Chen gave both DBS and OCBC a buy call, and a hold for UOB, but cautioned that the trio will face muted loan demand ahead while credit cost increases will likely be prominent next year.

Following Tuesday's gain, local shares will likely move in sideways in the days ahead, remisier Chung Chun He noted.

Reflecting the uncertain mood, Shanghai went down 0.25 per cent after a choppy session where investors awaited further news on potential stimulus measures by Beijing. Tokyo was closed for public holiday.

whwong@sph.com.sg