Market subdued as investors await key data

STI stays sluggish ahead of US, China and S'pore economic figures towards week's end

The local market was quiet again yesterday as traders held fire until the expected rush of news later in the week.

The Straits Times Index (STI) slipped 2.61 points, or 0.08 per cent, to close at 3,288.95 - erasing the previous day's 0.27-point increase.

The lacklustre day was hardly a surprise with investors more focused on United States inflation data and Chinese trade figures due out on Friday, along with Singapore's gross domestic product numbers.

One of the bigger blue-chip moves was City Developments, which rose 10 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $11.85 on the news of a possible cash offer to consolidate its stake in Millennium & Copthorne Hotels. OCBC Investment Research analyst Eli Lee called the proposed offer price of 552.5 pence a share attractive.

Singapore Post also climbed, rising by two cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $1.275 after the opening of its SingPost Centre retail wing and General Post Office.

Commodities trader Olam International finished up nine cents, or 4.2 per cent, at $2.23. It was hit with its second query from the bourse operator in the past four months, with the exchange asking about "unusual price movements" in its shares during the day.

Viva Industrial Trust added half a cent, or 0.5 per cent, to 94.5 cents. It turned down a $300 million offer on Monday to acquire one of its properties, citing a large equity funding requirement under the deal that would not lift unit holders' distribution. RHB Securities Research analyst Vijay Natarajan said it "shows that management is prudent in picking its assets" and added: "The move also addresses some of the investor concerns over its rapid growth in the past and highlights that management is not inclined to grow the Reit at any cost."

SPH Reit was up by half a cent, or 0.5 per cent, to $1.01 after the manager reported a full-year net property income growth of 4.5 per cent on the previous year. Analysts at DBS Equity Research have raised their target price for the Reit from $1.04 to $1.07 as they bank on Seletar Mall coming into the portfolio soon.

But Singapore Airlines fell for the second straight day, losing three cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $10.19 as the carrier failed to shake off gloom over news of its cost-cutting initiatives.

Real estate, hospitality and entertainment group KOP shed 0.6 cent, or 6.7 per cent, to 8.3 cents. The drop came in the wake of last Friday's placement agreement with businessman Sam Goi, who plans to fork out up to $11.08 million for 221.6 million new shares.

Two of the three local banks also closed down - UOB by 14 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $24.22, and OCBC by three cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $11.36. DBS bucked the trend, up three cents, or 0.1 per cent, at $21.50.

Elsewhere, South Korean stocks surged on the back of major tech counters. Seoul closed up by 1.6 per cent, at a two-month high, as traders returned from a holiday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Market subdued as investors await key data'. Print Edition | Subscribe