Bulls And Bears

S'pore market cautious amid mixed response to Fed's remarks

Uncertainty leaves STI flat; gainers lead losers 286 to 227 * Regional markets up with the exception of S. Korea, Malaysia * Reits and property stocks among best STI performers

Local investors had few leads to go on yesterday after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell signalled that while a recession is possible, a soft landing is in the works.

The uncertainty left the Straits Times Index (STI) pretty much unchanged, with stocks dipping 0.02 per cent or half a point to 3,092.8 with gainers outnumbering losers 286 to 227 in the broader market on trade of 1.17 billion shares worth $962.5 million.

Most regional markets rose. Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and Indonesia closed between 0.1 per cent and 1.3 per cent up while South Korea's Kospi fell 1.2 per cent and Malaysia's Bursa closed flat. This came after Wall Street initially rallied on the Powell remarks but drifted down at the close.

Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said the markets moved the way they did as Mr Powell's comments left investors "in somewhat of a no-man's land".

While his remarks about the possibility of a recession "should have been enough to spark a ... risk sentiment rally" since the Fed's rate hiking expectations were dialled back, the markets got a mixed response instead, he said. This was as the Fed chair also said the central bank is determined to bring down inflation and has the ability to make that happen.

Real estate investment trusts (Reits) and property stocks were some of the best performers among STI constituents. Mapletree Industrial Trust was the biggest gainer, closing 2.4 per cent higher at $2.59.

Keppel DC Reit wasn't far behind, adding 2.1 per cent to $1.98, while CapitaLand Investment rose 1.6 per cent to end at $3.78.

The bottom of the STI table featured Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which shed 1.6 per cent to 95.5 cents, and Jardine Cycle & Carriage, down 1 per cent to $28.79.

The three local banks all closed lower. UOB ended 0.6 per cent down at $26.45, OCBC slipped 0.3 per cent to $11.33, while DBS closed at $29.85, falling 0.4 per cent.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2022, with the headline S'pore market cautious amid mixed response to Fed's remarks. Subscribe