Investors end week on a high note after export rebound gives market a welcome a boost

The Straits Times Index closed up 41.08 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 3,382.38, after sagging over a lacklustre week.
The Straits Times Index closed up 41.08 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 3,382.38, after sagging over a lacklustre week.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Local equities bounced back on Friday (Nov 17) after sterling export figures for October sent a jolt of optimism through investors.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed up 41.08 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 3,382.38, after sagging over a lacklustre week as the earnings reporting season winds down. Gainers outnumbered losers 257 to 181, on a turnover of nearly 2.3 billion shares worth $1.29 billion.

The rise in the STI mirrored a surge in United States indices, after Republicans pushed forward with their corporate tax reform agenda. The Dow finished up 0.8 per cent on Thursday, while the S&P was higher by 0.82 per cent and the Nasdaq rose 1.3 per cent.

CMC Markets Singapore analyst Margaret Yang said in a morning note: "With positive sentiments from the US and regional markets, Singapore stocks may slowly enter into a 'catch-up rally' in the days to come. The downside is cushioned by relatively cheap valuation and improved business environment."

All three Singapore banks finished up here.

DBS Group Holdings added 79 cents or 3.39 per cent to $24.13, while United Overseas Bank put on 36 cents or 1.46 per cent to $25.06 while OCBC Bank closed up 20 cents or 1.75 per cent, at $11.65.

Telco StarHub added five cents or 1.8 per cent to $2.83 - right before the after-market announcement that chief executive and executive director Tan Tong Hai is stepping down on May 1.

Fellow telco Singtel closed up two cents or 0.55 per cent at $3.68. Earlier this week it put a plum Hill Street property on the market with provisional permission to be redeveloped into a hotel project.

City Developments added 21 cents or 1.77 per cent to $12.11 as the developer pressed on with efforts to consolidate its stake in Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.

Commodity giant Olam, which this week posted a 17.5 per cent growth in net profit for the third quarter, put on four cents or 1.86 per cent to $2.19.

Wilmar International shrugged off a 5.7 per cent slide in third-quarter earnings and added one cent or 0.32 per cent to $3.16.

Meanwhile, Golden Agri- Resources finished 0.5 cents up, or 1.32 per cent, at 38.5 cents, after slipping earlier in the week as earnings plummeted on the back of foreign exchange losses.

But the news was not all rosy across the bourse. Cruise operator Genting Hong Kong closed flat at 23.5 US cents. It had earlier announced that its Star NCLC unit will be selling five million shares in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings for US$270.1 million.