Bulls And Bears

Positive US markets help lift S'pore stocks

All three local banks gain; Wheelock Properties rises on potential delisting

A robust effort from United States markets overnight helped local shares bounce back from Wednesday's flat finish to end higher yesterday. The Straits Times Index advanced 37.08 points or 1.1 per cent to end at 3,277.58. About 1.16 billion shares worth $965.9 million changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 228 to 159.

The spur came from Wall Street where Morgan Stanley and other large banks lifted the financial sector with better-than-expected results, while the Nasdaq Composite Index closed just below the record set the previous day, ahead of results from major tech firms.

All three banks here finished higher: United Overseas Bank added 39 cents to $26.28; DBS Bank gained 24 cents to $26.10; and OCBC put on 10 cents to $11.25.

Asia Pacific Strategic Investments led the actives with 75.1 million shares changing hands, but ended flat at 0.2 cent. The investment holding company announced after trading on Tuesday that it issued 13,100 new shares on July 12. It announced yesterday that it released a further 13,408 shares on Monday.

Wheelock Properties soared 44 cents or 25.3 per cent to $2.18 on news yesterday that its Hong Kong-listed parent is offering $2.10 per share to take the developer private.

Other developers that have been rumoured to be going private also saw their shares rise on the news. Wing Tai Holdings gained 4 per cent to $2.11 while Ho Bee Land rose 2.5 per cent to $2.42.

CapitaLand Commercial Trust lost one cent to $1.75 after reporting a fall in distribution per unit to 2.16 cents for the second quarter.

Venture Corp dropped 20 cents to $16.69 after Credit Suisse changed its rating from "neutral" to "underperform" and cut its target price from $24 to $14.50, citing trade disputes among other issues.

Most other Asian markets retreated, with only Malaysia ending higher. Australia rose on industrials and heavily weighted financials, while European markets saw prices fluctuate on mixed results from the corporate earnings season.

Asia-Pacific ING head of research and chief economist Rob Carnell said yesterday that most Asian macroeconomic news has been poor this month, even before the US-China tariffs fully kick in. "Whatever the aggregate Asian story for June, the months that follow will be the real story to watch," he said.

"On the assumption that this isn't going to be pretty viewing, we have already been taking the knife to our Asian GDP forecasts, been nudging up the near-term inflation outlook, and been nudging down the longer-term inflation outlook."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2018, with the headline 'Positive US markets help lift S'pore stocks'. Print Edition | Subscribe