Bulls And Bears

Asian markets end week on positive note

They shake off trade war concerns, buoyed by strong showing on Wall St

Asian markets closed out the week - and this month's last trading day - on a positive note following a strong showing on Wall Street.

American tech giants like Apple and Amazon lifted markets, as did the Federal Reserve's rate hike in the face of a robust United States economy.

Despite ongoing concerns about the US-China trade war, global markets appeared unperturbed, buoyed by sentiment that world equities and national economies, particularly the US', were in good health.

Japan's Nikkei rallied to an eight-month high yesterday, boosted by a weaker yen and a strong US economy. The Nikkei is on track to touch a 27-year high.

Hong Kong shares, following Wall Street's strong lead, closed 0.26 per cent higher.

Even Australian equities, which were battered following a probe into its financial sector, rose 0.4 per cent to a three-week high.

The US Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday to a range of 2 to 2.25 per cent, meeting punters' expectations.

DBS chief economist Taimur Baig wrote that the trade war is increasingly seen as a US-China skirmish, of which tariffs are just one part. Chinese firms were already finding ways to deal with impending tariffs in the near term, he said.

In the local market, the key Straits Times Index (STI) finished strongly to cap a stellar week, helped by gains in financials and real estate.

The STI rose 0.64 per cent, or 20.79 points, to 3,257.05, a level untouched since the middle of last month.

Gainers trumped decliners 237 to 149, on turnover of 1.7 billion shares worth $1.36 billion.

OCBC Bank, which announced a ramp-up of digitalisation efforts in Indonesia, added 0.7 per cent to $11.44, while DBS Group Holdings inched up 0.58 per cent to $26.09.

Thomson Medical ended flat at 7.6 cents after announcing earlier in the day plans to sell its hospitality unit to the private vehicle of property tycoon Gordon Tang for $3.38 million in cash.

Keppel Corp shed 2.8 per cent to $6.96 while Singapore Press Holdings added 2.9 per cent to $2.87. Both firms are partnering to buy the rest of M1's shares that they do not already own.

Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation (Keppel T&T), which owns Keppel's M1 stake, soared 36.7 per cent to $1.86.

Parent company Keppel Corp is seeking to privatise Keppel T&T at $1.91 a share.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2018, with the headline 'Asian markets end week on positive note'. Print Edition | Subscribe