Bulls And Bears

BOJ's money policy lifts most Asian bourses

Also, NetLink NBN Trust, S'pore's largest IPO in six years, marks first full day of trading

Asian markets were mostly up yesterday as the Bank of Japan stood pat on its commitment to a loose monetary policy, as expected.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.3 per cent, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite put on 0.4 per cent.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) here retreated after passing the 3,300-point threshold, losing 1 per cent to close at 3,293. Trading volume in the market as a whole climbed higher again with 3.65 billion shares worth $1.45 billion changing hands, while losers outnumbered gainers by 244 to 224.

Yesterday also marked the first full trading day of NetLink NBN Trust, Singapore's largest initial public offering (IPO) in six years.

Units in the fibre broadband provider fell half a cent or 0.62 per cent to close at 80.5 cents, with 82 million units traded.

This made it the fourth most active counter on the bourse after Rowsley, Magnus Energy and Jiutian Chemical.

NetLink debuted in two hours of trading on Wednesday, during which 184.4 million units changed hands. Of this, 55 million units were purchased by its stabilising manager, Morgan Stanley, a bourse filing yesterday revealed.

The stabilising manager can buy up to 123.5 million units to undertake stabilising actions, NetLink's prospectus said.

Rowsley, controlled by tycoon Peter Lim, was the top most active counter for a second day, rising 2.3 cents or 16.3 per cent to 16.4 cents on volume of 701 million.

On Tuesday night, Mr Lim announced plans to inject medical assets said to be worth up to $1.9 billion into the firm.

Rowsley plans to acquire all of the private firm Thomson Medical and a 70.36 per cent stake in Malaysia-listed TMC Life Sciences in an all-share deal.

This means paying Mr Lim via the issuance of new stock, which would see Rowsley's share base balloon to five times what it is now. An update on the deal talks can be expected in two months, Rowsley had said.

Lower down the actives list, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT) fell 3.5 US cents or 7.29 per cent to 44.5 US cents on volume of 55 million.

On Wednesday, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen port operator reported earnings in line with forecasts, but also said it plans to gradually lower its debt by HK$5 billion (S$876 million) between now and 2021, and reduce its dividend payouts to about 22 to 23 HK cents per unit this year, down by about 25 to 28 per cent from the level last year.

"Given the recent unit price appreciation, we encourage investors to take profit and downgrade HPHT from a 'hold' to a 'sell' at an unchanged fair value of 42 US cents," wrote OCBC analyst Deborah Ong.

Gas supplier Union Gas Holdings makes its debut on the Catalist board today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2017, with the headline 'BOJ's money policy lifts most Asian bourses'. Print Edition | Subscribe