Bulls And Bears

S'pore market up 0.2% despite gloomy outlook

But shares in Japan, South Korea and HK fall on dismal OECD global growth forecast

There was plenty of gloom yesterday, but local investors were in no mood to be swayed by the negative talk of slowing global growth.

The Straits Times Index (STI) added 6.64 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 3,229.48 - no mean feat given the downbeat news.

One came from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which lowered its 2019 global growth forecast from 3.5 per cent to 3.3 per cent.

And IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted a Federal Reserve report that said US economic growth has been slowing.

While local investors shrugged off the news, other markets were more wary. Shares in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong ended lower, while Malaysia ended flat.

Mainland China and Australia joined Singapore to close higher.

Trading here worked out to about 896.85 million securities worth $948.95 million, low even by recent standards. Losers outnumbered gainers 219 to 181.

Nico Steel was the most active stock for a second straight day with 45.3 million shares traded. Its shares finished 16.7 per cent lower at 0.5 cent.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, one of 19 STI shares to end higher, was the index's most traded and biggest gainer on the day. It added 2.9 per cent to $1.42 with 34.7 million shares changing hands. Yangzijiang has gained 13.6 per cent this year despite the global underperformance of the shipbuilding sector.

ThaiBev also fared well, adding 3.2 per cent to 80.5 cents.

Among banks, DBS fell 0.2 per cent to $25.32, OCBC Bank also dropped 0.2 per cent to $11.20, while United Overseas Bank rose 0.3 per cent to $25.17.

Tech counters were mixed with Venture Corp losing 2.8 per cent to $18.70 and AEM Holdings off 0.8 per cent at $1.20, but Hi-P International added 1.3 per cent to $1.56.

Ascendas Reit was downgraded by RHB Research Institute to "neutral" on valuation grounds. The brokerage maintained that Ascendas Reit, whose units closed flat at $2.83, remained its top industrial Reit pick.

RHB added that investors who intend to "seek exposure to the Singapore industrial segment can switch to ESR Reit". ESR units closed flat at 53 cents.

IG's Ms Pan said that despite "sounding like a broken record", the US-China trade issue remains the overarching theme for investors to watch out for with a positive resolution set to give markets a boost.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore market up 0.2% despite gloomy outlook'. Print Edition | Subscribe