Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares inch up on thin trading

Investors likely assessing impact of Tropical Storm Harvey; STI gains backed by banks

Singapore equities eked out some gains yesterday amid a mixed showing across Asia.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) put on 8.05 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 3,267.62 but trading across the bourse was thin, with just 944.7 million shares worth $755.8 million done.

Shanghai led gains in the region with a 0.93 per cent increase, while Hong Kong inched up 0.05 per cent. Tokyo dipped 0.01 per cent and Sydney lost 0.59 per cent.

NetResearch Asia noted that markets started the week on a subdued note after the annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, over the weekend "ended in disappointment for many". It said: "The much anticipated speeches by Mario Draghi and Janet Yellen yielded little on monetary policy and mostly kept to the book, essentially bouncing the ball back to the courts of lawmakers and their fiscal policies."

Meanwhile, investors were likely also assessing the impact of Tropical Storm Harvey, which hit Houston, the capital of the American oil and gas industry. The storm meant that 430,000 barrels per day of oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was shut off, or about 24 per cent of the region's total output, said S&P Global Platts. About 900,000 barrels per day of oil-refining capacity was also closed last Saturday.

The gains on the STI yesterday were backed strongly by the three local banks, in particular DBS Group Holdings, up 1.1 per cent or 22 cents to $20.65.

OCBC Bank added 0.6 per cent or seven cents to $11.05, and United Overseas Bank advanced 0.5 per cent or 11 cents to $23.70.

Property company UOL also performed well, gaining 1.2 per cent or 10 cents to $8.13, along with agribusiness group Wilmar International, which rose 1.2 per cent or four cents to $3.26.

Singapore Press Holdings climbed 1.1 per cent or three cents to $2.79, following its announcement last Friday that it will divest its 20 per cent stake in Mediacorp TV and 40 per cent stake in Mediacorp Press for $18 million. The proposed divestment follows Mediacorp's decision to cease the print edition of the Today newspaper.

Elsewhere, GuocoLand rose 1.3 per cent or three cents to $2.32.

It said on Sunday that net profit for the fourth quarter ended June 30 leapt to $244.9 million, from just $39.8 million a year earlier.

Heatec Jietong Holdings received a trading query from the Singapore Exchange after soaring to as high as 9.5 cents in the morning. It finished at 8.2 cents, 36.7 per cent or 2.2 cents higher than Friday's close.

The day's most heavily traded stock was real estate firm Rowsley, which eased 0.8 per cent or 0.1 cent to 11.7 cents on a turnover of 71.7 million shares. Other actives included AA Group Holdings, which surged 16.3 per cent or 0.7 cent to five cents, and YuuZoo Corporation, unchanged at 7.2 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore shares inch up on thin trading'. Print Edition | Subscribe