Midday market: STI dips but Rowsley soars higher; newly-listed Netlink NBN Trust down 0.6%

A man walking down the escalator next to the big screen at the Singapore Exchange (SGX).
A man walking down the escalator next to the big screen at the Singapore Exchange (SGX). PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares are a tad lower on profit-taking after recently breaking above the key resistance level of 3,300, with Rowsley the most actively traded counter for a second straight session.

Defying the overall market downtrend, Rowsley jumped 18.44 per cent or 2.6 Singapore cents to 16.7 cents, on trade of 238.3 million shares. The counter skyrocketed 93 per cent on Wednesday after controlling shareholder and billionaire Peter Lim unveiled plans to inject medical assets - namely, Thomson Medical and Malaysia-listed TMC Life Sciences - said to be worth up to S$1.9 billion into the firm.

"We are seeing buyers from across the Causeway in addition to the typical momentum traders," a dealer said.

At 12.20pm, the Straits Times Index was down 0.22 per cent or 7.41 points to 3,317.66, led down by Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which dipped 1.8 per cent or 2.5 cents to S$1.35.

Singapore Press Holdings lost 1.7 per cent or 5 cents to S$2.95; Genting Singapore shed 0.5 per cent or 0.5 cents to S$1.10; and Singapore Airlines dropped 0.8 per cent or 8 cents to S$10.21.

But oil and gas plays got a boost from firmer oil prices as the latest data showed US crude oil and gasoline inventories registering another bigger-than-expected drop.

Keppel Corp was up 0.8 per cent or 5 cents to S$6.57 ahead of the release of its second quarter earnings today, while Sembcorp Industries rose 2.5 per cent or 8 cents to S$3.26 and SembMarine jumped 4.5 per cent or 7.5 cents to S$1.76.

Singapore's largest IPO in six years - NetLink NBN Trust, which debuted on Wednesday, shed 0.6 per cent or 0.5 cents to 80.5 cents.

"The IPO received two times oversubscription in the book running, which was not too bad considering the size of the IPO. Compared to previous IPOs, however, this ratio wasn't that impressive. For example, Kimly was 8.3 times, Jumbo was around 8 times, UnUsUal was over 30 times," CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang noted.

Elsewhere in Asia, most markets are higher on a positive lead from Wall Street after Morgan Stanley and American Express topped earnings per share estimates.

Hong Kong was up 0.3 per cent while Tokyo and Shanghai gained 0.6 per cent.

The Bank of Japan kept steady its monetary policy this morning, ahead of BoJ Governor Kuroda's press conference at 2.30pm Singapore time.

"Although Japan is not expected to join their advanced economy in turning hawkish any time soon, the market may look to their outlook report to draw inspiration on the central bank's plans," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said.

The ECB's meeting is also on traders' radar, with the ECB president's press conference starting at 8.30pm tonight Singapore time.