Banks, property blue chips lift STI

Wall Street gain and China's economic data also boost local market as it closes up 0.18%

Local shares ended slightly higher yesterday, with bargain hunters jumping back in after a sell-off in Hong Kong wiped out gains made earlier in the day.

The Straits Times Index closed up 0.18 per cent or 5.88 points to 3,334.91 but had hit 3,352.83 in intra-day trade - just shy of the year-to-date high of 3,354.29 on July 27.

A strong showing by banks and property blue chips City Developments (CDL) and UOL Group propelled the rise.

The market also got a boost from Wall Street passing 23,000 points and China posting a 6.8 per cent gain in third-quarter gross domestic product, in line with expectations.

DBS Group Holdings rose 0.9 per cent or 19 cents to $21.70 and United Overseas Bank gained 1 per cent or 25 cents to $24.33, while Singtel added 0.5 per cent or two cents to $3.76 and Jardine Matheson rose 0.7 per cent or 49 US cents to US$66.98.

"There are signs of a rebound in the light of the surge in en bloc activity. Investors are looking at bargain-hunting stocks of property developers now," said CMC Markets Singapore analyst Margaret Yang. UOL broke past the $9 resistance to hit an all-time high of $9.11 before closing at $8.98, up 24 cents or 2.7 per cent. CDL reached $13.30 before closing at $13, up 18 cents or 1.4 per cent.

Investors also piled into mid-cap property stocks, including Far East Orchard, which gained 0.6 per cent to a two-month high at $1.56 before closing down a cent at $1.54.

Chip Eng Seng jumped 4.5 cents or nearly 5 per cent to 95 cents after DBS Equity Research issued a buy call. The stock is "trading at a 52 per cent discount to its revalued net asset value and has locked in over $1 billion in pre-sales with further upside from ongoing tenders and a recently replenished land bank", DBS said.

Keppel Corp shed 11 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $7.02 ahead of the release of third-quarter earnings after market close. Net profit rose 30 per cent to $291.8 million for the three months to Sept 30, with revenue up 11 per cent to $1.62 billion.

UMS Holdings, which advanced 6.4 per cent or 6.5 cents to $1.08, was queried by the Singapore Exchange over unusual price movements. The semiconductor equipment maker has proposed a bonus issue of up to 107.2 million new ordinary shares on the basis of one bonus share for four ordinary shares.

Other actively traded counters included Rowsley, down 4.3 per cent or 0.6 cent to 13.2 cents, with 293.8 million shares traded. Magnus Energy was flat at 0.1 cent, with 239 million shares traded. Asti was also flat, at 8.8 cents with 58.5 million shares traded. Ipco International surged 50 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.3 cent, with 62.7 million shares on trade.

Dragon Group International was up 9.8 per cent or 0.4 cent at 4.5 cents, with 57.5 million shares changing hands. The electronics engineer said it will fully acquire miner Coeur Gold Armenia for around $500 million as part of its plan to diversify its business.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2017, with the headline 'Banks, property blue chips lift STI'. Print Edition | Subscribe