Bulls And Bears

Investors adopt wait-and-see attitude

STI inches up ahead of upcoming global economic data and local company results

The local market eked out a tiny gain on a mixed day across the region as investors kept their eyes on a slew of economic data news.

The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 1.83 points or 0.07 per cent to 2,817.07 points. Trading was mostly outside the index on volume of 2.4 billion shares worth $896.7 million.

Across Asia, Shanghai lost 0.74 per cent, Hong Kong was off 0.84 per cent, Tokyo rose 0.26 per cent and Bangkok pared 0.02 per cent.

Regional investors were holding their breath ahead of United States industrial production data after the market close and third-quarter economic growth figures for China tomorrow to gauge the health of the struggling global economy.

For now, China's outlook is intact, Moody's said last week, adding: "Economic growth should comfortably meet the government's 6.5 to 7 per cent target for the year."

The European Central Bank is due to meet this week with its policy stance set to be on hold.

Twelve of the 30 STI constituents ended higher, led by Jardine Cycle & Carriage, which rose 58 cents or 1.41 per cent to $41.75. Golden Agri-Resources rose half a cent or 1.39 per cent to 36.5 cents on 30.4 million shares traded.

Genting Singapore rose one cent or 1.32 per cent to 76.5 cents, unaffected by the news in China that 18 staff of casino operator Crown Resorts had been arrested. The move was read by some as an intensified government crackdown on gaming and a potential blow to casinos, including Genting's in Singapore, which has been hurting from lower arrivals of Chinese high-rollers.

CapitaLand rose two cents or 0.65 per cent to $3.12. The developer will unveil its results in the coming weeks but no date has been set. Keppel Corp, due to announce its results on Thursday, rose four cents or 0.76 per cent to $5.33.

Local company results, starting to come through this week, will dominate market attention. "Earnings season uncertainty and the latest weak third-quarter GDP for Singapore showing a contraction put a near-term cap (on STI) at 2,850," DBS analyst Yeo Kee Yan said.

Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust, set to announce its results on Thursday, ended flat at $2.42. Singapore Exchange, whose results will be out tomorrow, slid four cents or 0.55 per cent to $7.21 - one of the 12 STI losers yesterday.

The top loser was Sats, down 15 cents or 3.14 per cent to $4.63, while Thai Beverage pared half a cent or 0.53 per cent to 94.5 cents, with 20.2 million shares traded.

"We think trading interest in small- and mid-cap stocks should continue, with the STI likely stuck in a narrow trading range in the weeks ahead," Mr Yeo said, citing Ezion, China Aviation and Singapore O&G.

SunMoon Food added 0.6 cent or 4.92 per cent to 12.8 cents, with 113.5 million shares traded. It is up some 88 per cent since Oct 7, when an investment by China's Yiguo E-commerce was revealed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Investors adopt wait-and-see attitude'. Print Edition | Subscribe