Bulls And Bears

Singapore shares close flat, bucking trend in region

Other Asian bourses buoyed by statement from China on its vigorous fiscal policy

Singapore stocks ended flat yesterday even as regional markets took a positive cue from the Chinese government's policies to bolster domestic growth.

The key Straits Times Index (STI) lost 1.06 points to close at 3,292.65. There were 219 gainers to 169 losers. About 1.63 billion shares worth $1.1 billion changed hands.

The most actively traded counter by volume was Allied Technologies, which ended flat at four cents, with 250.9 million shares traded.

Leaders included banking stocks DBS, which rose 16 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $26.16, while OCBC Bank put on eight cents to $11.30.

One of the biggest gainers of the day was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (YZJ), which rose six cents, or 6.9 per cent, to 92.5 cents.

DBS analyst Ho Pei Hwa noted that Asian markets were buoyed by China's State Council statement on Monday saying it would engage in a more "vigorous" fiscal policy as the economy cools. "While YZJ is not exactly a Chinese domestic consumption or infrastructure play, it is perceived to be a China proxy on the SGX," she said.

She also noted that Cosco Shipping International (Singapore) also traded up, gaining four cents, or 11.1 per cent, to 40 cents.

Similarly, CGS-CIMB's head of equity research Lim Siew Khee noted that YZJ's rise was largely in line with the China market. She said a positive note among Asian shares will be reflected in YZJ, largely seen as a proxy for the Chinese market. With the Chinese yuan depreciation, this fundamentally reduces cost and improves margins, she added.

CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang noted that the STI was not following the positive momentum in the rest of Asia. She said trade concerns might have been one of the reasons, and local investors might be more conservative, preferring to stay on the sidelines as they await corporate earnings results.

China outperformed regional markets, with its shares hitting a one-month high. This came on the back of a 502 billion yuan (S$100 billion) injection by China's central bank, and a signal that the government would shift to a looser fiscal policy to cushion China from a worsening trade row with the US.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite closed 46.02 points, or 1.61 per cent, higher at 2,905.56, and the Hang Seng rose 406.45 points, or 1.44 per cent, to 28,662.57.

Similarly, Tokyo stocks closed higher, riding on Beijing's stimulus measures, with the Nikkei 225 advancing 113.49 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 22,510.48.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore shares close flat, bucking trend in region'. Print Edition | Subscribe