Bulls And Bears

Optimism over China trade talks lifts STI

Singapore market ends week on robust note, as financials continue to trend up

Regional investors enjoyed a reasonably buoyant week with local traders doing better than most.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed 6.43 points, or 0.19 per cent, up at 3,322.64 yesterday and ahead a robust 109.76 points, or 3.4 per cent, for the week.

The lift came on the back of positive sentiment stemming from China trade talks although yesterday's session here was marred by low trading volumes as the China and Hong Kong markets were shut.

With the 3,300-point mark in the rear-view mirror, CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said "companies in the benchmark will need to post improving first-quarter earnings" if the index is to hit 3,400.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said investors can look to the dovish minutes from the United States Federal Reserve and an upturn in Chinese data expected next week to support prices.

Elsewhere in Asia, trading was mixed, with Australia and Malaysia down but South Korea up.

Trading here clocked in at 953.8 million securities worth $976.29 million with gainers outnumbering decliners 238 to 147.

Nico Steel was the bourse's most active with 81.6 million shares traded as it shot up 20 per cent to 0.6 cent after saying it expects a significant increase in net profit this year.

Genting Singapore was among 22 of the STI's 30 constituents to end the day in the black. It followed up Thursday's sell-off that ended with a near 10 per cent slide to gain 1.6 per cent to 98.5 cents with 67.2 million shares done.

Several real estate investment trusts (Reits), which have been the darling of investors recently, ended lower. Mr Brandon Leu, UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products, said "investors seem to be taking profit and switching from Reits into cyclicals such as banking stocks".

Financials continued to trend up with DBS up 0.5 per cent to $26.98 while OCBC gained 0.7 per cent to $11.71 and United Overseas Bank advanced 0.4 per cent to $26.52.

Among non-STI stocks, Yongnam Holdings continued to trade heavily and closed flat at 18.6 cents after gaining 18.5 per cent on Thursday.

Market watchers said its recent performance was most likely due to investor optimism that it stands to benefit from the $9 billion plans to upgrade the integrated resorts.

Best World International closed 1.5 per cent higher at $2.05. On Thursday, its founders bought 100,000 shares for $199,500 on the open market. The company also bought 60,000 shares by way of market acquisition for a total consideration of $121,113.80.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2019, with the headline 'Optimism over China trade talks lifts STI'. Print Edition | Subscribe