Bulls And Bears

Asian markets rally on China's economic plans

But recovery shaky on fears of higher US interest rates, global tensions, says analyst

Regional markets mostly edged higher yesterday as Chinese stocks surged following the government's pledge over the weekend to boost the economy.

The announcements, including backing for the private sector, helped the Shanghai Composite gain 4.1 per cent to extend last Friday's rally.

The Straits Times Index tracked the positive performance of most Asian markets to add 15.55 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 3,078.06 points.

Gainers beat losers 188 to 172 on trade of 1.6 billion shares worth $842.1 million.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.37 per cent, Hong Kong rose 2.32 per cent, while South Korea's Kospi gained 0.25 per cent. 

Australian shares were the exception, falling 0.58 per cent on the back of fresh political uncertainty.

Mr Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at Oanda, noted that Chinese "markets remain under pressure from every economic angle, leaving more than a few investors extremely sceptical Friday's recovery will have lasting legs".

FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga also expressed caution: "Global equity bulls still have an opportunity to re-enter the scene on the back of robust corporate earnings. However, expectations of higher US interest rates, global growth fears and geopolitical tensions all present downside risks to equity markets across the world."

DBS inched up 0.37 per cent to $24.35, and OCBC Bank rose 0.93 per cent to $10.81.

The banks are due to report results soon, starting with United Overseas Bank on Friday. Earnings are expected to continue the strong growth from previous quarters.

Genting Singapore was one of the most active counters with 67.8 million shares traded as it rose 1.6 per cent to 95 cents. 

Oil and gas firm Rex International fell 2.06 per cent to 9.5 cents, with about 53 million shares changing hands. The company is in a legal spat with Kuala Lumpur-listed Hibiscus Petroleum.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was up 1.7 per cent to $1.20, recovering slightly after it sank 7.1 per cent to $1.18 last week.

DBS equity research noted yesterday that the recent sell-off presents a buying opportunity. It said Yangzijiang Shipbuilding is "one of the most profitable shipyards in the world and among a handful with solid balance sheets".

DBS also expects Yangzijiang to post stronger third-quarter results next month, based on deliveries of mega vessels and write-backs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 23, 2018, with the headline 'Asian markets rally on China's economic plans '. Print Edition | Subscribe