Bulls And Bears

Positive news from US lifts local shares

Keppel Corp leads rise, gaining nearly 4%; strong performance by DBS and OCBC

Local shares closed higher yesterday on a positive lead from Wall Street after reports that United States Federal Reserve governor Jerome Powell could be the next Fed chair.

Mr Powell is seen as a safe bet who would not veer much from current policy.

The Straits Times Index rose 0.17 per cent or 5.82 points to 3,340.73 and up 0.7 per cent for the week.

Investors also cheered news that the US Senate passed the US$4 trillion (S$5.4 trillion) budget, which is a step closer towards the goal of passing the tax reform plan.

Keppel Corp led the rise, gaining nearly 4 per cent or 28 cents to $7.30 after posting a 30 per cent gain in third-quarter net profit to $291.8 million.

"The results look good as recent rationalisation and reorganisation of its businesses have helped both a quarterly revenue and operation profit gain on the year. Expectations of a bottoming out in the offshore and marine sector, and the collective sale boom are looking good for Keppel," a dealer said.

DBS Group and OCBC Bank also performed strongly ahead of the release of their third-quarter results. OCBC is due to post its earnings results before markets open on Oct 26. DBS rose 0.6 per cent or 14 cents to $21.84, OCBC edged up 0.4 per cent or five cents to $11.49.

Sats gained 1.7 per cent or eight cents at $4.69.

Blue-chip property counters were subject to a bout of profit taking yesterday. UOL Group shed 1.6 per cent or 14 cents to $8.84. City Developments lost 0.4 per cent or five cents to $12.95, after directors of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C) rejected two earlier offers it had made before agreeing to support a potential privatisation bid. CDL has until Nov 6 to announce whether it will make an offer for M&C, its hospitality unit.

But bargain hunters continued to pile into mid-cap property counters, with Far East Orchard jumping to a three-month high of $1.58 before closing up nearly 1 per cent or 1.5 cents to $1.555.

GuocoLand added 1.7 per cent or four cents to $2.45 and Wing Tai Holdings gained 4.5 per cent or 10 cents to $2.34.

Chinese developer Yanlord Land Group advanced 1.6 per cent or three cents to $1.85 after China's economy grew 6.8 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier and in line with analyst forecasts. The stock also got a boost from the company buying back 478,000 shares at between $1.82 and $1.84 each.

Among the most actively traded counters were Magnus Energy, which was flat at 0.1 cent on trade of 424 million shares. Metech International was stuck on 0.4 cent, with 41.6 million shares traded, while Oceanus was unchanged at 0.9 cent on trade of 34.7 million shares. Rowsley fell 2.3 per cent or 0.3 cent to 12.9 cents, with 139.2 million shares changing hands.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'Positive news from US lifts local shares'. Print Edition | Subscribe