Bulls And Bears

Singapore shares edge up in muted trading

Data out of China, US lifts mood as traders shrug off Trump-Kim summit collapse

Better-than-expected data out of China and the United States lifted local spirits yesterday as did optimistic comments from White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

It all helped investors shrug off the abrupt ending of the Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam, the lack of outcomes in the trade talks and the on-going India-Pakistan tension.

The Straits Times Index (STI) responded by adding 7.71 points or 0.2 per cent to 3,220.40 but it still ended the week down 1.5 per cent.

Trading was muted with 903.79 million shares worth $972.67 million changing hands with gainers trumping losers 209 to 190.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said that trade issues meant investors were "simply unwilling to err on either side right now".

"We have had the March 1 tariffs deadline extended, but the uncertainty over whether a US-China deal will eventually be agreed on remains a question," she said.

Though the trading day lacked excitement for the most part, it certainly perked up in the last half hour of trading when three married trades involving about 49 million shares in media company UnUsUaL were made - two at 25 cents a share and one at 24.5 cents a share.

Following the off-market transactions, UnUsUaL shares closed 15.4 per cent higher at 30 cents on 49.9 million shares.

Financials fared better: DBS closed 1 per cent up at $25.08; OCBC Bank added 0.36 per cent to $11.10; but United Overseas Bank lost 0.08 per cent to $25.00.

Casino operator Genting Singapore was the STI's most active, ending 1 per cent higher at $1.03 with 25.5 million shares changing hands.

Dairy Farm International slipped 4.1 per cent to US$8.57.

Penang theme park developer Sim Leisure Group debuted on the Catalist board and opened at 17 cents or 22.7 per cent lower than its initial public offering price of 22 cents. It eventually closed at 16.9 cents with 3.3 million shares traded.

In Asia, much attention was placed on the performance of markets in mainland China, after index compiler MSCI said on Thursday that it would increase the weighting of Chinese-listed stocks in its benchmark indices and add more of such companies in the process. Shanghai rose 1.8 per cent, its biggest weekly gain in nearly four years.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Australia, Japan and Hong Kong closed higher but Malaysia fell.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 02, 2019, with the headline 'Singapore shares edge up in muted trading'. Print Edition | Subscribe