Bulls And Bears

S'pore market muted, mirroring trend in Asia

Lack of fresh leads may signal start of typically quiet year-end trading

It was another down day for local shares, with investors taking their cue from muted results on key Asian bourses and a lack of fresh leads that may signal the start of the typically quiet year-end trading.

The key Straits Times Index had started brightly and was up for much of the day, but ended on a flat note, closing 0.41 point, or 0.01 per cent, lower at 3,438.06.

It is still up 19.4 per cent for the year so far.

"Given the historically lighter trading volumes in December, we can expect price swings to be exacerbated, thus creating buying opportunities for companies with solid fundamentals," said KGI Research.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1 per cent, while China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.2 per cent. South Korea's Kospi bucked the trend, rising 0.3 per cent.

Asian markets, which saw mixed returns at the start of the week despite the United States "tax glow", seemed to have succumbed to the pressure of tech stock blues.

On the home front, turnover here stood at 1.7 billion shares worth $1.1 billion, versus Monday's 1.5 billion shares worth $810 million. Losers outpaced gainers with 286 to 175.

Losses were led by City Developments (CDL), which fell 36 cents, or 2.9 per cent, to $11.88, while CapitaLand slipped 6 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $3.48.

KGI Research said it expects the tighter supply-demand dynamics in the private residential market to continue to sustain property stocks.

The improving labour market could also strengthen demand for private homes, said the research house, adding that its favourite plays in the sector are GuocoLand and CDL.

Despite the overall anaemic note, banking stocks managed to trudge higher, with DBS Group inching up 20 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $24.80, while OCBC Bank added 15 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $12.51. United Overseas Bank (UOB) advanced six cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $26.32.

Jefferies Research said in a report, which analysed the three banks' digitalisation efforts to improve operational efficiencies, that DBS leads the way, followed closely by OCBC. It also noted that UOB has increased its tech spend significantly.

Catalist-listed No Signboard, which made its debut last Thursday, was one of the most actives with 48 million shares worth $15 million done.

The counter fell 0.5 cent, or 1.7 per cent, to 29.5 cents, versus its IPO price of 28 cents per share.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore market muted, mirroring trend in Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe