Bulls And Bears

Asian stocks take cue from Wall Street rally

Asian stocks, South Korea's Kospi, mostly ticked higher on Dec 28 to end a roller-coaster week of trading.
Asian stocks, South Korea's Kospi, mostly ticked higher on Dec 28 to end a roller-coaster week of trading. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Too early to celebrate as global markets still prone to downside shocks, says analyst

Tracking a Wall Street rally overnight, Asian stocks mostly ticked higher yesterday to end a roller-coaster week of trading, but experts note that more clarity is needed on key market concerns.

Mr Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM, explained that global sentiment repeatedly swung from extremely bearish to bullish this week, as investors tussled with concerns including slowing global growth, US-China trade developments and Brexit-related uncertainty, among other things.

"Although US stock markets bounced back to life... and Asian shares traded mostly higher, it is certainly too early for any celebrations," he said. "With investor appetite for riskier assets seen diminishing amid the unfavourable market conditions, global equity markets remain vulnerable to downside shocks."

On the local bourse, the Straits Times Index eked out a 0.29 per cent gain, rising 8.69 points to close at 3,053.43. Gainers outnumbered losers 222 to 158, on turnover of about 942.5 million shares worth $539.9 million.

Property firm Ying Li International rose 0.4 cent, or 3.5 per cent, to 11.9 cents, with 11.2 million shares traded, while YZJ Shipbuilding rose one cent, or 0.8 per cent, to $1.23, on trade of 11.4 million shares.

Creative Technology, which had registered four consecutive days of losses, rebounded to gain 18 cents, or 5.5 per cent, to $3.46. Excluding this week, the last time the counter traded below $4 was in February.

The firm was queried by the Singapore Exchange for its unusual share price movement, after shares tumbled by more than 16 per cent on Wednesday. Creative said it was unaware of anything that might explain the movements.

Manulife US Reit rose 3.4 per cent to 77 US cents, and Keppel-KBS Reit gained 4.4 per cent to finish at 59.5 US cents. This comes after both real estate investment trusts (Reits) announced that the proposed new US tax regulations would not have any material impact on their consolidated net tangible assets or distributions per unit.

The financials posted slight gains: DBS and UOB gained 0.3 per cent each, while OCBC inched up 0.2 per cent. Also propping up the index was Golden Agri-Resources, which rose 4.3 per cent to 24.5 cents, and Venture Corp, which gained almost 2 per cent to $13.96.

South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite added 0.4 per cent. Japan bucked the trend with the Nikkei losing 0.3 per cent, and the Topix falling 0.5 per cent as investors cashed in ahead of the New Year holidays. The Japanese markets will resume trading only next Friday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2018, with the headline 'Asian stocks take cue from Wall Street rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe