Bulls And Bears

Singapore market inches up despite gloomy news

Investors shrug off latest US tariff threats, downbeat IMF growth forecast

There was plenty of gloom yesterday, given United States President Donald Trump's tariff threats on European products and a downbeat forecast from the International Monetary Fund, yet local shares still managed to inch higher.

The Straits Times Index (STI) opened lower before eventually closing 2.05 points, or 0.06 per cent, higher at 3,327.65. Trading clocked in 1.05 billion securities worth $1.01 billion. Gainers pipped losers 197 to 183, with 21 of the STI's 30 blue chips ending in the black.

Two index gainers stood out: Jardine Matheson Holdings rose 0.9 per cent to US$63.17, while Singtel added 0.3 per cent to $3.11 - a four-month high on the back of a stronger Australian dollar, said CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang.

Genting Singapore was again the STI's most traded, slipping 0.5 per cent to 96.5 cents with 42.8 million shares done. The stock has shed 10.8 per cent since increases in the casino entry levy and tax rates were announced along with news of its $4.5 billion redevelopment plan for its Resorts World Sentosa complex.

It was a mixed day for the banks. DBS fell 0.1 per cent to $26.97 and OCBC Bank dipped 0.3 per cent to $11.72, but United Overseas Bank climbed 0.2 per cent to $26.56.

Property developers are mostly up this year with signs that the rally still has some way to run.

Mr Marcus Toh, principal trading representative at Phillip Securities, said: "Counters with sizeable exposure to China like CapitaLand and Yanlord Land are likely to benefit from a likely move to lift some property curbs in China."

CapitaLand closed flat at $3.70 while Yanlord added 4.2 per cent to $1.48. Real estate firm KSH Holdings was among the main gainers, jumping 6.5 per cent to 57.5 cents.

Market watchers said investors likely see KSH as a possible beneficiary of the redevelopment plans of the integrated resorts.

Interest in real estate investment trusts (Reits) continued to be strong following the dovish stance on interest rates at the US Federal Reserve.

Ms Yang noted: "The FTSE Straits Times Reit Index traded near a 14-month high, registering 11.6 per cent year-to-date gain."

The biggest Reit gainers were Mapletree Commercial Trust, up 1.6 per cent to $1.92, and Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust, ahead 1.5 per cent to $1.38.

Other Asian markets mostly shrugged off the latest "Trump tariff threat", with Mr Stephen Innes from SPI Asset Management saying traders were taking a "been there, done that attitude".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore market inches up despite gloomy news'. Print Edition | Subscribe