Local shares recouped some lost ground yesterday to snap a five-day losing streak, but sentiment is set to stay jittery amid economic uncertainty, with big gains unlikely in the days ahead.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rebounded 25.15 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 2,999.56, following a 3.5 per cent drop since Tuesday last week.
But it was still a mostly quiet session, with just 220.41 million shares transacted among the blue chips. Across the whole market, 1.3 billion shares worth $809.3 million were traded, with the strongest activity in the small and mid-cap segment.
The most active stock was real estate and architecture firm Rowsley. It rose 0.8 cent, or 4.19 per cent, to 19.9 cents, with 73.4 million shares changing hands.
The firm will announce its third- quarter results today, on the back of upbeat sentiment in recent months following news of substantial investments in Manchester and the healthcare city project in Johor Baru.
Agricultural play Japfa shot up 5.5 cents, or 13.75 per cent, to 45.5 cents, stretching its gain to a third day after announcing better- than-expected earnings for the three months to Sept 30.
In a note yesterday, DBS analyst Ben Santoso reiterated his buy call for Japfa with a 90-cent target price. "Japfa intends to double dairy farm production capacity in China by constructing another five farm hubs in Inner Mongolia. Demand will continue to be driven by rising per capita income," he said.
Among the blue chips, Noble Group was the top gainer after an active day. It added two cents, or 4.17 per cent, to 50 cents, on 54.3 million shares done. The firm will announce its results next Thursday.
All three banks gained, with DBS Group Holdings moving up 35 cents, or 2.03 per cent, to close at $17.60. OCBC Bank ended 19 cents, or 2.12 per cent, higher at $9.14. United Overseas Bank put on 12 cents, or 0.59 per cent, to close at $20.33.
CIMB analyst Jessalynn Chen gave both DBS and OCBC a buy call, with a hold for UOB, but cautioned that the trio will face muted loan demand ahead while credit cost increases will likely be prominent next year.
SIA Engineering rose five cents, or 1.27 per cent, to $3.98, after it announced a 5.7 per cent rise in net profit to $44.5 million and an interim dividend of six cents per share on Monday.
At the other end of the ledger, Global Logistic Properties dropped the most, down three cents, or 1.33 per cent, to $2.22. Singapore Technologies Engineering pared four cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $3.30.
Local shares will likely move sideways in the days ahead, remisier Chung Chun He noted.
"The index may inch up slowly, pulling back from last week's drop, but company results and economic headwinds will still dominate sentiments. I don't see any drastic movement until there's clarity on the corporate and economic outlook."