Bulls And Bears

Asian markets muted as US tax reform uncertain

STI ends eventful week slightly higher, as Dow hits record on US tax plan progress

A roller-coaster week in the market drew to a close yesterday with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) up for the day by 16 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 3,449.54.

This was a gain of 0.21 per cent on the previous week.

It was another flattish day, even after the Dow finished above 24,000 points for the first time and the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up 0.73 per cent. This came amid expectations a tax reform plan would continue to make headway in the US Congress.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore's warning on Thursday about "excessive exuberance" in the property market was not a dampener.

City Developments added two cents, or 0.17 per cent, to $12.13, while CapitaLand grew by four cents, or 1.13 per cent, to $3.57 and GuocoLand was up by two cents, or 0.96 per cent, to $2.10.

Meanwhile, OCBC Investment Research yesterday released its latest report on the oil and gas sector.

Despite flagging "continued unease" in small-cap and mid-cap stocks, the OCBC analysts stuck to "buy" calls on the larger companies - Keppel Corporation, Sembcorp Marine and Sembcorp Industries.

Sembcorp Industries closed flat at $3.05, but Sembmarine rose two cents, or 1.08 per cent, to $1.87.

Keppel Corp, which said yesterday a subsidiary had jointly nabbed a HK$31 billion (S$5.35 billion) waste management project, put on 13 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $7.76.

Separately, commodities giant Olam International added one cent, or 0.45 per cent, to end at $2.25 after announcing the completed sale of some 2,064ha of edible nuts farmland in California for US$110 million (S$148.2 million).

The two busiest counters for the day - both losers - were Allied Technologies and New Wave Holdings. Allied Tech dipped by half a cent, or 5.95 per cent, to 7.9 cents, with 135.4 million shares changing hands. The company earlier announced it had received the last pot of cash owed for last year's sale of a Chinese unit.

Catalist-listed aluminium distributor New Wave lost 0.1 cent, or 7.14 per cent, to 1.3 cents, on a turnover of 94.6 million shares, after the collapse of real estate tycoon Koh Wee Meng's takeover bid.

Other regional markets ended on a mixed note, with Asia cautious. Shanghai rose 0.01 per cent and Tokyo 0.41 per cent, but Seoul dipped 0.04 per cent and Hong Kong fell for the fifth day, with a 0.35 per cent loss.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2017, with the headline 'Asian markets muted as US tax reform uncertain'. Print Edition | Subscribe