Bulls And Bears

Index flat as traders await growth estimates

Some counters see gains on good corporate news but 'lack of positive surprises' stifles STI

The local market was flat yesterday as traders stayed on the sidelines ahead of Singapore's quarterly growth estimates due out on Friday.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed up 0.27 point, or 0.01 per cent, to 3,291.56.

CMC Markets Singapore analyst Margaret Yang, pointing to its underperformance in the past two months compared with market peers, put the lacklustre showing down to a "lack of positive surprises". She added: "Strong earnings and economic data are needed to wake up market participants in the fourth quarter."

Still, good news on the company front did spur on some stocks yesterday. Global Logistic Properties, which has received the Singapore Exchange's in-principle approval for its decision to delist, was up by one cent, or 0.3 per cent, to $3.31 on a turnover of 27.7 million shares.

Shareholders stand to pocket $3.38 in cash for each share, under the proposed privatisation scheme.

Sembcorp Marine, which last Friday announced a US$1.3 billion (S$1.8 billion) rig sale to Borr Drilling, got a boost upon yesterday's confirmation that the deal was going ahead. It rose eight cents, or 4.6 per cent, to $1.815 on a turnover of over 19.6 million shares.

OCBC Investment Research analyst Low Pei Han noted that the transaction will lead to a roughly $15 million loss for Sembcorp Marine but would "significantly improve" the company's liquidity ahead of an industry recovery.

RHB Securities Research meanwhile stuck to its "neutral" recommendation on the stock, "as we foresee a continuing sluggish order book replenishment ahead".

Sembcorp Industries also enjoyed a lift, adding nine cents, or 3 per cent, to $3.11.

Recent froth in the property market was good news for some real estate players, with 15.8 million shares traded for Asia Square Tower 2 buyer CapitaLand Commercial Trust on a gain of one cent, or 0.6 per cent, to $1.65. Meanwhile, City Developments, which clinched the $906.7 million Amber Park collective sale, closed up 15 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $11.75.

It had halted trading for about an hour after lunch, pending the announcement of a possible cash offer for all the remaining shares in Millennium & Copthorne Hotels that CDL does not already own, valuing the hospitality group at £1.794 billion (S$3.2 billion).

But the uplift was not universal. UOL, which has just coughed up $201.1 million for the collective sale of Nanak Mansions, lost one cent, or 0.1 per cent, to finish at $8.54.

Singapore Airlines shed six cents, or 0.6 per cent, to close at $10.22, after reports last week that it has embarked on more than 50 cost-cutting initiatives.

Elsewhere in the region, Shanghai notched a 0.8 per cent gain on its return from China's one-week Golden Week break, hitting a one-year high. Seoul and Tokyo were shut for holidays.

Correction note:  This story has been edited to clarify that CDL values the hospitality group at £1.794 billion (S$3.2 billion). 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2017, with the headline 'Index flat as traders await growth estimates'. Print Edition | Subscribe