Bulls And Bears

Roller-coaster week ends with dip in STI

But most key Asian markets get lift from speculation about pause in Fed rate hikes

Investors have become used to riding a market roller-coaster in recent months, so this up-and-down week will not have seemed out of the ordinary.

Asian markets started on a positive note with news of a trade truce between the United States and China struck at the G-20 summit.

But it did not take long before doubts emerged with Thursday's arrest of a senior Huawei executive, dashing hopes that the two nations could reach a lasting resolution.

Speculation that the Federal Reserve's expected US interest rate hike this month might be its last before a pause sent most key Asian indexes higher yesterday, although Hong Kong's Hang Seng, the Kuala Lumpur Composite and Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) missed that particular boat.

The STI closed 4.4 points, or 0.14 per cent, lower at 3,111.12 and was down 0.2 per cent for the week.

Turnover came in at 978 million shares worth $856 million with gainers pipping losers 176 to 175, while 13 of the 30 STI constituents ended the day in the red.

Marine firm Ezion Holdings was the most active stock for the second session running. It gained 1.8 per cent to 5.7 cents with 62 million shares changing hands.

Turnover of 38.7 million shares made ThaiBev the most active index stock. It finished 1.7 per cent lower at 59 cents. The beverage manufacturer was also the STI's biggest loser in percentage terms.

Contract manufacturer Venture Corporation was the index's biggest loser in dollar terms, dropping 22 cents, or 1.46 per cent, to $14.90.

Meanwhile, Dairy Farm International Holdings was the STI's biggest gainer in percentage terms, up 2.5 per cent to US$9.05. The STI's biggest gainer in dollar terms - Jardine Matheson Holdings - ended 30 US cents, or 0.5 per cent up at US$65.64.

Among the financials, DBS closed 0.1 per cent up at $24.16, OCBC dropped 0.7 per cent to $11.23, and UOB dipped 0.7 per cent to $24.85.

SGX market strategist Geoff Howie noted: "Singapore's China-related stocks were among the stronger performers of the week, with the FTSE ST China Index gaining 1.8 per cent over the five sessions."

The strongest stocks from the index this week were Hutchison Port Holding Trust, which jumped 5.8 per cent to 27.5 US cents, and SIIC Environment, up 3.8 per cent to 28 cents. This was due in part to the postponing of tariff escalations and China's agreement to buy more US products, and expectations in China of more proactive fiscal measures or further reductions to the reserve ratio requirements, Mr Howie said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2018, with the headline 'Roller-coaster week ends with dip in STI'. Print Edition | Subscribe