Bulls And Bears

Investors stay on sidelines ahead of corporate results

STI slips 5.47 points as heavyweights Keppel, three banks set to submit report cards

Investors continue to keep their heads down ahead of key earnings reports from local heavyweights and signals about a possible rise in United States interest rates.

The indifference sent the benchmark Straits Times Index 5.47 points in the red to 3,019.03. Around 2.49 billion shares worth $880.8 million changed hands.

The corporate earnings season is of immediate concern for investors, with Keppel Corp reporting tomorrow and the three banks to follow, starting next week.

Telco M1 settled some nerves when its third-quarter earnings released on Monday were in line with forecasts.

Meanwhile, speculative interest in oil and gas penny plays continued yesterday.

Loyz Energy, which shot up more than 63 per cent on Monday, was again the most actively traded counter. The stock soared 21 per cent, or 1.6 cents, to 9.1 cents, with 188.2 million shares traded.

The company, which was queried about unusual volume movements on Monday, told the Singapore Exchange (SGX) that no acquisitions or other transactions were in the pipeline.

Two other penny plays, Asia-Pacific Strategic Investments and China Environment, were slapped with "trade with caution" notices after they told the SGX yesterday they were "not aware of any reasons that could explain the trading in (their) securities".

China Environment jumped 18.9 per cent, or 1.7 cents, to 10.7 cents with 109.7 million shares traded. The SGX queried it over the substantial increase in its trading volume yesterday.

Asia-Pacific Strategic received a similar query on Monday after its stock jumped 20 per cent on trades of 123 million. Its stock lost 5.6 per cent, or 0.2 cents, to 3.4 cents yesterday, with 19.4 million shares changing hands.

Wilmar International rose 8.9 per cent, or 26 cents, to $3.17, also earning it a query over "unusual price movements" yesterday. About 23.8 million shares were traded.

Market participants are also eyeing China's 18th Central Committee meeting, which starts on Monday.

HSBC economist Ma Xiaoping said the Chinese government will confront the core issues of sustainable growth and an overhaul of state sectors as it searches for new growth drivers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Investors stay on sidelines ahead of corporate results'. Print Edition | Subscribe