Bargain hunters help prop up S'pore stocks

STI shrugs off Wall Street losses amid fresh anxiety about Trump's policy direction

Singapore shares eked out some gains yesterday despite a consolidation on Wall Street and the geopolitical tension in North Asia.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was pared by 0.24 per cent and the S&P 500 slid 0.33 per cent overnight as renewed bickering in Washington left investors wondering about US President Donald Trump's policy direction.

In Asia, Tokyo dropped 0.18 per cent, likely due to jitters over North Korea's missile drama on Monday.

But Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 8.93 points, or 0.29 per cent, higher at 3,130.44, with $1.08 billion worth of shares traded across the market.

Remisier Alvin Yong said: "The local sentiment is cautiously optimistic, with people looking for bargain-hunting opportunities because the valuations are still not as high as in the US."

He added: "After the latest results season, which was mixed but not as bad as expected, many are also thinking the worst is over for Singapore's corporate sector. Property and oil and gas stocks have been particularly attractive for bargain hunters."

Yanlord Land Group surged 10.5 cents, or 6.46 per cent, to $1.73, extending its gains since last week to about 14 per cent. This followed a Feb 28 announcement of an 83.7 per cent jump in full-year net profit to 2.7 billion yuan (S$552 million).

On the STI, CapitaLand was one of 17 gainers. The property giant put on eight cents, or 2.25 per cent, to $3.64 on 15.9 million shares traded.

The top-performing blue chip was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which rose six cents, or 5.36 per cent, to $1.18, on 48.5 million shares done. The Chinese shipbuilder has charged up by almost 30 per cent since Monday last week.

City Developments rose four cents, or 0.42 per cent, to $9.67, and Singapore Press Holdings added two cents, or 0.58 per cent, to $3.48.

Nine STI counters ended in the red, led by SIA Engineering, which slid five cents, or 1.35 per cent, to $3.65, while Golden Agri-Resources fell half a cent, or 1.33 per cent, to 37 cents on 39.3 million shares done.

Outside the benchmark. a variety of counters are being looked at following the results season. CIMB analyst William Tng has his eyes on the small-cap segment, where results for the fourth quarter and 2016 were lukewarm but still highlighted several opportunities.

"Our top pick... is Cityneon. Stripping out one-off expenses, 2016 core net profit of $8 million was in line with our full-year forecast," he said on Monday, giving a target price of $1.27. The exhibition and events company yesterday slipped half a cent, or 0.63 per cent, to 79 cents.

Oil and gas support company Baker Technology put on 4.5 cents, or 6.29 per cent, to 76 cents.

KGI Securities Singapore analyst Joel Ng thinks the counter is worth at least 95 cents, pointing to a balance sheet that is strong enough to support acquisition and diversify revenue stream.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'Bargain hunters help prop up S'pore stocks'. Print Edition | Subscribe