Bulls And Bears

Asia gets slight lift as economic worry eases

But China bucks trend, with analyst noting market 'in consolidation phase'

Concerns over the state of the global economy eased a little yesterday to give investors across the region some confidence about heading back to the market.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said the recovery suggested that markets were oversold on fears. On the other hand, FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga noted that geopolitical risk factors weighing on investor sentiment were still ever present.

The Straits Times Index (STI) started strong in early trading before easing off to close up 17.36 points or 0.55 per cent at 3,200.28.

Japan's market, which bore the brunt of Monday's sell-off, made up most of those losses to close up 2.2 per cent. Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea also ended positively.

China bucked the regional trend, prompting CMC markets analyst Margaret Yang to note that the market was "in the consolidation phase, allowing for profit-taking and shares changing hands".

Trading here clocked in at 1.05 billion shares worth $1 billion,with gainers outnumbering losers 242 to 165.

Seven of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the red, including Genting Singapore, which was the index's most traded. It ended down 1 per cent at $1.02 with 28.5 million shares done.

DBS fell 0.1 per cent to $25.10 but the other local banks eked out gains. OCBC added 0.4 per cent to $11.03 and United Overseas Bank was ahead 0.2 per cent to $25.01.

ComfortDelGro continued on its upward trajectory, advancing 2.4 per cent to $2.57, a 52-week high.

The taxi company's shares have gained 19 per cent this year and picked up from the period of peak competition with ride-hailing firms.

Real estate investment trusts (Reits) saw active trading on the day, with most counters up. Slower global growth and a conductive interest rate outlook have put them in the crosshairs of investors.

UOB Kay Hian vice-president of equities and financial products Brandon Leu acknowledged that the piqued interest was likely down to investors looking to beef up their portfolios with defensive plays.

He added that there was also the possibility of investors "getting into the Reits before most of them trade ex-dividend in April".

Sino Grandness' plans for a placement share issue sent its stock up 42 per cent on Monday but it was in retreat yesterday, down 4.9 per cent to 5.8 cents on profit-taking.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2019, with the headline 'Asia gets slight lift as economic worry eases'. Subscribe