Bulls And Bears

Benchmark index ends week little changed

STI rises 0.2% on more buoyant mood; Q1 property market data also brings cheer

Good news on the domestic and international fronts re-energised traders here yesterday although wariness remained.

The more buoyant mood lifted the Straits Times Index 7.19 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 3,577.21, putting it up for the week by 0.11 per cent. Gainers beat losers 243 to 191.

Some cheer came from first-quarter property market data, which showed fast-rising private home prices, a sustained growth in office rents and a possible turnaround in the struggling retail segment.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore also stuck to a positive outlook on an expanding economy, "barring a significant escalation of trade and other geopolitical tensions".

Elsewhere, the Bank of Japan has left monetary policy unchanged, while landmark talks between South and North Korean leaders began.

Casino operator Genting Singapore rose one cent to $1.19 on a volume of 26.08 million shares, and Singtel was up by five cents to $3.49.

While most benchmark index stocks ended higher, Venture Corporation's week of gloom continued. It shed 82 cents, or 3.69 per cent, to $21.40.

Off the index, Valuetronics closed down six cents, or 8.11 per cent, to 68 cents on a volume of 28.8 million shares, after a major customer was said to have had poor sales. Marco Polo Marine lost 0.3 cents, or 9.68 per cent, to 2.8 cents, with 24.08 million shares changing hands. Falcon Energy was down 0.2 cents to 2.6 cents while KrisEnergy lost 0.1 cent to 10.3 cents.

Trek 2000 International picked up 0.5 cents, or 3.29 per cent, to 15.7 cents. The bourse has ordered a shareholder vote on whether founder Henn Tan, implicated in potential financial breaches, can stay on as chief executive.

Lee Metal rose 0.5 cents to 41.5 cents. The competition watchdog gave fellow steel player BRC Asia the go-ahead to try for a buyout and delisting of Lee Metal, at an offer price of 42 cents a share.

The region's key indices all came in green. Shanghai finished up by 0.23 per cent and Hong Kong by 0.91 per cent, while the Kospi put on 0.68 per cent and the Nikkei 225 gained 0.66 per cent.

Mr Eli Lee, head of investment strategy at the Bank of Singapore, said: "Global equities rallied on the back of firm earnings from key technology names, such as Amazon and Baidu which beat expectations and provided firm guidance ahead.

"Looking ahead, any potential concessions from North Korea in the form of denuclearisation, in exchange for economic aid, or a non-aggression pact will reduce the level of geopolitical risk in the global backdrop, and would be a positive for market dynamics."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2018, with the headline 'Benchmark index ends week little changed'. Print Edition | Subscribe