Bulls And Bears

Asia markets come out swinging

STI rises again as regional bourses rally, with sentiment strengthening on Wall St data

The Singapore market extended its winning streak yesterday with regional equities enjoying a stellar day as fears over the global economic slowdown took a backseat.

The Straits Times Index (STI) rose for the fourth consecutive session, finishing 44.57 points or 1.66 per cent higher at 2,726.96.

Markets elsewhere in the region did even better: Shanghai jumped 4.3 per cent, which helped to pull Hong Kong up 3.1 per cent.

Tokyo soared 4.1 per cent and Sydney climbed 2 per cent. The positive sentiment tracked optimism in the United States, where Wall Street finished 2.1 per cent higher thanks to data that showed factory activity shrank less than expected.

"We are getting a bit of stability in markets," Mr Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors, told Bloomberg. "Most of the yen strength is behind us and most of the panic is behind us. People are underestimating just how much ammunition central banks have. US growth is slow but steady."

Among the blue chips leading the charge was commodity trader Noble Group, which reversed its downward trajectory to rise one cent or 3 per cent to 34.5 cents. The local banks also clocked sturdy gains. DBS Group Holdings advanced 40 cents or 2.9 per cent to $14.24; OCBC Bank added 21 cents or 2.6 per cent to $8.31; United Overseas Bank put on 46 cents or 2.7 per cent to $17.65.

More notably, offshore marine plays rallied in heavy trade on hopes that oil prices, still steady at levels of US$36 a barrel yesterday, have already tanked out. Keppel Corporation rose 18 cents or 3.4 per cent to $5.49, while Sembcorp Marine grew four cents or 2.6 per cent to $1.58. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings climbed half a cent or 0.5 per cent to 91.5 cents.

Logistics facilities provider Global Logistic Properties also performed well, leaping eight cents or 4.5 per cent to $1.86.

The day's biggest laggards included palm oil company Golden Agri-Resources, which lost half a cent or 1.4 per cent to 36.5 cents, and casino operator Genting Singapore, which slipped half a cent or 0.7 per cent to 75 cents.

Outside of the blue chips, Ezra Holdings was the most heavily traded stock for the third day running, with as many as 235.8 million shares changing hands. The counter jumped half a cent or 7.2 per cent to 7.4 cents.

Osim International requested for a trading halt in the morning. It was queried by the Singapore Exchange on Tuesday, after the stock surged 11.5 cents or 10.4 per cent to $1.225.

Offshore services provider Ezion Holdings grew half a cent or 1 per cent to 51.5 cents. RHB investment analyst Lee Yue Jer said in a report that the firm's "worst quarter is now behind it", maintaining a "buy" call on the stock.

Some 1.98 billion shares worth $1.52 billion were traded across the bourse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2016, with the headline 'Asia markets come out swinging'. Print Edition | Subscribe