Bulls And Bears

Market bubbly on strong growth numbers

MAS' neutral policy also helps lift STI; region in upbeat mood on robust China trade data

Rosy economic growth figures out yesterday gave a slight leg up to local equities after they spent a week languishing in the doldrums.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed up 16.02 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 3,319.11 - a rise of 0.85 per cent for the week.

Advance estimates showed the economy gaining 4.6 per cent year on year in the third quarter, trumping a previous forecast of 3.8 per cent.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore gave its vote of confidence to "firm" gross domestic product growth next year and announced that it would maintain a neutral monetary policy, as expected.

Two of the three local banks finished higher, with United Overseas Bank adding five cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $24.29 and OCBC Bank putting on three cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $11.48.

DBS was the outlier, shedding 10 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $21.42.

Lian Beng Group rose half a cent, or 0.7 per cent, to 70 cents as it weighs a Catalist listing for a spin-off from its property development business. Results for the three months to Aug 31 were down 29.4 per cent on the previous year, it also announced on Thursday.

Fellow developer Oxley Holdings, which has entered into a placement agreement for as many as 22.7 million treasury shares, closed flat at 64 cents.

Raffles Education added four cents, or 12.5 per cent, to 36 cents. Tycoon and long-time shareholder Oei Hong Leong is champing at the bit to oust the firm's largest shareholder, chairman Chew Hua Seng.

Keppel Corporation, the next STI constituent to post its results, was higher by 28 cents, or 4.1 per cent, at $7.07. It reports its earnings next Thursday.

But Thai Beverage dropped by half a cent, or 0.5 per cent, to 94 cents after taking a 75 per cent stake in the company behind Myanmar's Grand Whisky brand.

DBS Equity Research reiterated its "buy" call, noting: "Despite all the positive news, ThaiBev's share price performance has lagged."

CMC Markets Singapore analyst Margaret Yang said in a note: "3,300 points is a psychological and technical resistance level for the STI. Breaking out above this critical point will pave the way for more upside towards the previous high of 3,354 points."

After retail numbers on Thursday and growth figures yesterday, the next set of Singapore data that traders will focus on will be the non-oil domestic export update for September, out next Tuesday.

Around the region, the mood also was buoyed as China clocked strong trade numbers, with import growth coming in far ahead of predictions at 18.7 per cent.

Shanghai closed up by 0.13 per cent and Shenzhen by 0.66 per cent, with the Hang Seng higher by 0.06 per cent.

Meanwhile, Tokyo shrugged off scandal-hit Kobe Steel's plummeting stock to add 0.96 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2017, with the headline 'Market bubbly on strong growth numbers '. Print Edition | Subscribe