Bulls And Bears

Investors shrug off US move to delay tariffs

STI dips, other Asian markets end mixed as traders go into profit-taking mode

The move by the United States to delay tariffs on Chinese imports until the middle of next month failed to galvanise markets across the region yesterday.

Jaded investors were more interested in profit-taking before a decision came down on European interest rates.

The lukewarm sentiment sent the Straits Times Index (STI) down 9.56 points or 0.3 per cent to 3,194.96 after initial gains yesterday.

It was mixed elsewhere, with Australia, China, Japan and South Korea gaining, but Hong Kong and Malaysia posted losses.

Japan's Nikkei 225, added 0.75 per cent, its eighth straight session of gains on the back of optimism surrounding the nation's new Cabinet and hopes that trade tensions might have turned a corner.

In what can be considered a goodwill gesture, China announced tariff exemptions on some US imports on Wednesday ahead of next month's trade talks in Washington.

President Donald Trump responded in kind by delaying tariffs from Oct 1 to Oct 15.

FXTM market analyst Han Tan noted: "Recent history has only shown how quickly previous bouts of optimism can unravel, dashed by the erratic and unpredictable nature of the US-China trade impasse.

"This ensures a lingering air of caution over global markets, even as risk assets are given another opportunity to make hay while the sun shines."

Trading volume here clocked in at 985.7 million shares worth $1.01 billion, with losers pipping gainers 181 to 179.

With 75.9 million shares changing hands, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding maintained its place as the STI's most active counter. It advanced 4.7 per cent to $1.11. The stock continues to recover after diving 30 per cent over two sessions last month.

The banks recorded gains. UOB added 0.2 per cent to $26.41, OCBC Bank edged up 0.1 per cent to $11.01, while DBS led the way, advancing 0.5 per cent to $25.37.

Thai Beverage saw heavier-than-usual trading, adding 0.6 per cent to 90.5 cents, with 31.5 million shares changing hands.

Tech plays generally outperformed the market. AEM Holdings added 0.9 per cent to $1.15, while Venture Corporation climbed 0.5 per cent to $15.81.

Among the penny stocks, TEE International was up 12.9 per cent to 3.5 cents before it called for a trading halt in the morning amid a probe into unauthorised transactions allegedly made under the instruction of its group chief executive and managing director.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 13, 2019, with the headline 'Investors shrug off US move to delay tariffs'. Print Edition | Subscribe