Singapore bourses, Asian markets rally on positive data, STI closes 22 points up

The Straits Times Index rose 21.87 points or 0.76 per cent to 2,900.92 on Monday, Dec 7, 2015.
The Straits Times Index rose 21.87 points or 0.76 per cent to 2,900.92 on Monday, Dec 7, 2015. PHOTO: SINGAPORE EXCHANGE

SINGAPORE - Singapore rallied along other key Asian markets on Monday after strong jobs data in the United States over the weekend gave investors more clarity over interest rates and the economic outlook.

The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 21.87 points or 0.76 per cent to 2,900.92, reflecting gains in other major markets in the region.

Shanghai was up 0.34 per cent, and Tokyo put on 0.99 per cent, Kuala Lumpur rose 0.25 per cent and Jakarta closed up 0.29 per cent but Hong Kong pared 0.15 per cent after a volatile session.

The regional gains Monday were expected after the cue from Wall Street where Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.12 per cent last Friday, its biggest jump in three months.

This followed the news that the US non-farm payrolls grew more than expected last month, further confirming that the Federal Rand to finally get over the market jitters.

But investors in Asia will also be keeping their eyes on China this week, when the world's second largest economy releases new data on its industrial production and retail sales. Market watchers such as Barclays senior economist Leong Wai Ho are not expecting great news.

"There are two different stories - while the US looks to be a growth driver, I believe this week we will continue to see that persistent softness in the Chinese economy, and we are calling for a 7 per cent year-on-year drop for November exports," Mr Leong told the Straits Times.

"The regional equities will not see any firm rebound towards the year end as a result. We will not see a collapse, but sentiments will remain subdued."

Reflecting that cautious stance, trading volumes here were slow despite the gain, with only 875.7 million shares worth S$696.8 million changing hands.

Still, there was enough lift to push 22 counters on the STI higher, with Jardine Cycle & Carriage gaining the most among the blue chips, up S$1.15 or 3.27 per cent to S$36.35. The company was issued a "trade with caution" warning by the Singapore Exchange last Thursday over a similar surge that it couldn't explain.

Genting Singapore also rose, up two cents or 2.6 per cent to 79 cents, while Keppel Corp staved off pressure from slumping oil prices to gain eight cents or 1.23 per cent to S$6.57.

But Noble Group, another blue chip firm with exposure to energy prices, was the top loser on STI, falling one cent or 2.44 per cent to 40 cents.

Outside the STI, engineering firm Terratech Group rose strongly for the second straight day, up 0.9 cents or 19.15 per cent to 5.6 cents. It was also among the top active counters, with 41.5 million shares transacted.

The stock is up 124 per cent in just two sessions after Terratech hit its full-year low at 2.5 cents last Thursday.

The SGX issued a "trade with caution" warning in response, after the company told the bourse that it was not aware of the reasons behind the red-hot performance.

whwong@sph.com.sg