Bulls And Bears

Regional shares buoyed by investor sentiment

Region ends in the black as news of US paring tariffs bolsters confidence

Talk that the United States may lift tariffs and roll back its trade war with China buoyed investor sentiment and helped regional shares end the week on a positive note.

Local stocks responded in like fashion with the Straits Times Index (STI) ending 9.90 points or 0.3 per cent higher at 3,224.34 and 0.8 per cent up for the week.

Turnover was 2.05 billion shares worth $906.9 million with gainers outpacing losers 241 to 137 while 23 of the 30 STI constituents ended the day in the black.

"The impact from the weaker-than-expected December trade performance from China on Monday was a short-lived one as announcements for more Chinese stimulus, US earnings and trade hopes lifted global equity markets in tandem," said IG market strategist Pan Jingyi.

"Both the sustained US government shutdown and the chaos following the Brexit vote were largely shrugged off by the market."

The most active stock was Ezion Holdings, which added 3.92 per cent to 5.3 cents, with 154.9 million shares changing hands. Other actives included Rex International and Kris Energy. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the most active index stock of the day, gaining 2.3 per cent to $1.35 on trade of 31.9 million.

The talk of the town was Japanese electronics retailer Nojima Corp's conditional cash offer for Courts Asia at 20.5 cents a share, announced before the market opened.

Shares in the electrical and furniture retailer resumed trade in the afternoon, surging 31.6 per cent to 20 cents, the highest in almost seven months. The closing price was 2.5 per cent under Nojima's offer price.

The counter, which averaged a turnover of 301,000 shares over the last 15 trading days, saw 2.23 million change hands yesterday.

Property player CapitaLand, which on Monday sealed the deal to acquire Temasek unit Ascendas-Singbridge for $11 billion, closed 0.6 per cent up at $3.30. It gained 0.9 per cent from the trading day before the announcement.

Among financials, DBS Group Holdings gained 0.2 per cent to $25.14, OCBC added 0.2 per cent to $11.75 and United Overseas Bank rose 0.4 per cent to $26.54.

Elsewhere in Asia, shares were lifted by a possible resolution of the US-China trade dispute, with markets in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, mainland China, South Korea and Malaysia ending in the black. The big gainer was the Shanghai Composite Index, which added 0.4 per cent. The benchmark index has posted gains for the third week in succession and is up 4.1 per cent this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2019, with the headline 'Regional shares buoyed by investor sentiment'. Print Edition | Subscribe