Bulls And Bears

Asian markets gain despite lingering trade tensions

Rally follows sell-offs on Wednesday amid tariff war between US and China

Asian markets bounced back from Wednesday's sell-offs, sparked by American intentions to slap tariffs on more Chinese goods, to rally yesterday.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan, Hong Kong's Hang Seng, the Shanghai Composite, the Kospi in South Korea, the ASX 200 in Australia and Kuala Lumpur Composite all ended higher.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) followed suit, rising 3.93 points or 0.1 per cent to 3,253.01.

Turnover stood at about 2.32 billion shares worth $1.12 billion, with gainers thumping losers 251 to 150.

Commodity trader Noble Group was the most-traded stock, closing 0.5 cent or 3.6 per cent up at 14.4 cents on trade of 45.4 million shares.

The day's biggest loser was Venture Corp, down 41 cents to $16.26. CGS-CIMB analysts jumped into the downgrade yesterday, lowering their call on the electronics services provider to "hold" and cutting the target price to $17.83, from $25.64, citing the trade rifts between the United States and China.

On Thursday last week, UOB Kay Hian downgraded Venture to "hold", with a target price of $18.20.

Meanwhile, Singapore Exchange continued its rally, posting a five-cent rise to $7.44, its highest since late May. The bourse operator said it will be launching a financial education programme through SGX Academy with DBS Bank that is aimed at budding retail investors.

Shares in the big three banks were mixed, with DBS down one cent to $26 while OCBC Bank dipped three cents to $11.30, but UOB added eight cents to $26.68.

Keppel Corp, which traded as high as $8.86 in late January, dropped three cents to $6.69. The mainboard-listed company had been dropped from the blue-chip category of DBS' model portfolio "given mounting trade war worries that have affected sentiment for mid-cycle sector leaders such as rigbuilders".

"Any further weakness in oil price in the weeks ahead could weigh on rigbuilders," DBS added.

Offshore support vessel owner-operator PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) added one cent or 3.4 per cent to 30.5 cents. The firm formalised a joint venture for Taiwan's offshore wind market with Hong Kong's Kerry TJ Logistics.

Among property stocks, CapitaLand finished four cents up at $3.06 while Oxley Holdings was unchanged at 36 cents.

NRA Capital analysts said Oxley's recent price corrections following the announcement of property curbs represented a buying opportunity.

Oxley's stock has fallen 12.2 per cent since July 5.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2018, with the headline 'Asian markets gain despite lingering trade tensions'. Print Edition | Subscribe