Bulls And Bears

Dull trading brings relief after weeks of drama

STI inches up 0.88 point, while regional markets mixed but mostly range-bound

The local market was about as dull as it could possibly be yesterday, but that came as a relief to traders after the drama of recent weeks.

Investors with little to go on left the Straits Times Index (STI) up 0.88 point at 3,170.77 with anaemic volumes of 922.48 million shares worth $643.5 million. Losers outpaced gainers 188 to 159.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the STI's most traded stock, with 20.6 million shares changing hands as it closed flat at $1.37.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted that financials underperformed the STI yesterday.

DBS lost 0.6 per cent to $25.06 and OCBC dipped 0.2 per cent to $10.99, while UOB gained 0.2 per cent to $24.70. Bourse operator Singapore Exchange was flat at $7.62.

Most real estate investment trusts (Reits) closed in the black, including CapitaLand Mall Trust, up 0.4 per cent to $2.45.

"Investor preference is shifting to Reits as they have managed to keep payouts relatively stable amid US-China trade tensions and face a favourable interest rate environment where rates may even be lowered further towards the end of the year," said Mr Brandon Leu, UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products.

Penguin International, which builds and charters vessels, added 1.1 per cent to 45 cents on heavier-than-usual trading. CGS-CIMB, which started covering the firm last Friday with an "add" call and a target price of 72 cents, said the company is profitable and its valuations are cheap compared with peers.

Eagle Hospitality Trust, which commenced trading last Friday, shed 4.1 per cent to 70 US cents on 11.5 million units traded. That was about 10 per cent below its initial public offering price.

ISR Capital was the bourse's most heavily traded counter, gaining 0.3 cent with 84.5 million shares changing hands. ISR said before markets opened that it has been granted a further extension to hold its annual general meeting by June 29.

Regional indexes were mixed but mostly range-bound. Australia and South Korea were unchanged, Hong Kong was lower while China, Japan and Malaysia ended higher.

The Nikkei 225 added 0.3 per cent, buoyed by United States President Donald Trump appearing to shy off taking a tough stance on trade issues with Japan.

Shanghai had the strongest gains of 1.4 per cent as investors were hopeful of more policy support after industrial profits fell last month.

The US and British markets were shut for holidays.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2019, with the headline 'Dull trading brings relief after weeks of drama'. Print Edition | Subscribe