Bulls And Bears

Asian stocks rise ahead of key Trump speech

STI up 0.8% as investors await US President's trade policy speech

Investors put the Monday blues behind them yesterday to send regional shares mostly higher ahead of US President Donald Trump's speech on trade policy and a potential tariff delay on European cars.

The Straits Times Index added 27.15 points, or 0.84 per cent, to 3,267.80 with 27 of the 30 benchmark counters gaining ground.

One dealer said that based on yesterday, it "appeared to be a good time to accumulate stocks".

Elsewhere, China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan all turned in gains but Australia ended lower.

While there were opportunities to buy on the dip, trading floors in Asia were cautious.

United States-China relations have improved but the road towards a comprehensive trade deal is likely to remain bumpy.

AxiTrader chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes noted that investors were skittish ahead of Mr Trump's speech at the New York Economic Club overnight.

"This speech could be the main event this week, especially if the President dangles any tangible details about his upcoming meeting with (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping)," he added.

Investors are also keeping a lookout for developments in Hong Kong, where Monday's protests continue to show signs of escalating.

Trading volumes here came in at 1.63 billion shares worth $1.24 billion, with gainers trumping losers 246 to 154.

Investors made a play for Singapore-listed plantation owners on news that palm oil prices are increasing while data showed that Malaysia's palm oil inventory level decreased last month.

Golden Agri-Resources jumped 13 per cent to 26 cents on trade of 109.6 million, the most on the Singapore bourse. The stock is up 27 per cent this month ahead of its third-quarter earnings release tomorrow.

Among other agribusiness players, Wilmar International edged up 0.5 per cent to $3.85, while Bumitama Agri added 4.2 per cent to 62 cents and First Resources gained 2.9 per cent to $1.78.

The buzz around other second-line counters was led by talk centring on United Engineers (UE), which gained 1.9 per cent to $2.70 on 40.5 million shares traded.

China-based developer Yanlord Land increased its cash offer for UE to $2.70 a share from the $2.60 it offered last month. It has acquired 6.15 per cent of UE stock at the $2.70 price, bringing its total ownership to 41.42 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Asian stocks rise ahead of key Trump speech'. Print Edition | Subscribe