Improved sentiment in S-E Asian markets lifts Singapore stocks

The improved mood among market players propelled the Straits Times Index (STI) up 0.5 per cent, or 15.76 points, to close at 3,083.88. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Positive sentiment in South-east Asia over other North Asian markets gave local investors all the incentive they needed to start buying on Wednesday (Oct 6).

The improved mood among market players propelled the Straits Times Index (STI) up 0.5 per cent, or 15.76 points, to close at 3,083.88, with gainers beating losers 257 to 221 on trade of 2.04 billion shares worth $1.21 billion.

"Australia aside, there appears to be a notable rotation in Asia today into the Asean value markets from the more tech-centric North Asian heavyweights," said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

"The latter are also heavy net energy and commodity importers, as opposed to Asean, which may be raising the perception that Asean is a more defensive play in Asia at the moment."

However, Mr Halley warned that a firm non-farm payroll number from the United States tomorrow night could cause a Federal Reserve taper to be in play and affect South-east Asian stocks, which are generally more sensitive to higher US interest rates.

The best performing STI stock was Jardine Cycle & Carriage, which gained 5.8 per cent to $20.75.

Flight services provider Sats was at the bottom of the table, losing 1.2 per cent to close at $4.17.

Other actively traded counters on Wednesday included palm oil producer First Resources, which gained 11.5 per cent to $1.85.

The trio of banks were also up, with DBS adding 0.2 per cent to $30.29, while UOB rose 0.4 per cent to $26.06, and OCBC climbed 0.4 per cent to $11.54.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.6 per cent, while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 Index declined 1.1 per cent, and Seoul's Kospi dived 1.8 per cent.

It was another negative day for Australian stocks with the S&P/ASX 200 index losing 0.6 per cent, bringing its losses to 1 per cent over the past two days.

In South-east Asia, the Jakarta Composite was up 2.1 per cent, while the Kuala Lumpur Composite rose 1.9 per cent.

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