Bulls And Bears

Local market has busy but mostly flat session

Genting S'pore wins favour with punters; Venture Corp's price continues to fall

Local equities stayed sluggish yesterday in spite of steady factory output data for March.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) inched up 2.01 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 3,570.02, after traders staged a last-minute rally. Losers beat gainers 244 to 180.

CMC Markets sales trader Oriano Lizza noted that even with the recent slide, the STI has "maintained its position above the 3,500 psychological barrier".

Genting Singapore was popular with the punters. It ticked up one cent to $1.18 on a volume of 44.09 million shares. A surge in earnings at rival Marina Bay Sands fuelled first-quarter growths.

Fitch Ratings has predicted low-to-mid single digit growth in Singapore gaming revenues, driven by more foreign visitors and continued expansion in the VIP segment.

Analysts are still largely upbeat on Venture Corporation, even as the share price continues to fall. It lost 35 cents to $22.22.

RHB Securities analysts "are cautious of the slowdown in the electronics and semiconductor industry" in the second half of the year.

"However, with Venture - one of the few in the Singapore tech sector reporting a positive first quarter of 2018 - we consider the selling over the past few days to be overdone."

Meanwhile, a Nomura research team has warned that, with Singapore a net oil importer, higher prices "would nudge already-high business costs even higher".

But it added that costlier oil "could resuscitate the struggling marine and offshore engineering sector".

Not everyone got the memo. Falcon Energy lost by 0.4 cent, or 12.5 per cent, to 2.8 cents on trade of 27.49 million shares, while KrisEnergy shed 0.2 cent to 10.4 cents.

Two companies locked in privatisation and delisting attempts fared very differently, thanks to the price premium factor.

Crane supplier Tat Hong Holdings jumped 5.5 cents, or 11.34 per cent, to 54 cents with 11.27 million shares traded. The firm's chief executive and Standard Chartered's private equity arm have raised their joint buyout bid by five cents to 55 cents a share.

Meanwhile, Vard ended flat at 25 cents. Fincantieri has been trying to take the group private since November with an offer of 25 cents a share that the independent adviser deemed "not fair but reasonable".

Flailing commodities trader Noble Group - which has been locked in a spat with Goldilocks Investment Company over its restructuring plans - lost 0.8 cent, or 8.6 per cent, to 08.5 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2018, with the headline 'Local market has busy but mostly flat session'. Print Edition | Subscribe