Bulls AndBears

S'pore shares rise 0.3% amid mixed markets

All three local banks lead charge, keeping STI in positive territory

Singapore equities outperformed most other regional markets, some of which are showing signs of fatigue after a strong run that began in the lead-up to last Friday's confirmation of a US-China "Phase One" trade deal.

"Equity markets are enjoying a massive finish to the year, but at some point, investors will need to kick back into Christmas mode and put some money in the bank defending profits," AxiTrader chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes said.

With the exception of an early session dip, Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) stayed in positive territory, closing yesterday's trading at 3,209.54, adding 8.74 points or 0.3 per cent.

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed. Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan posted gains. China and Japan were lower. Australia and South Korea barely moved.

Trading volume in Singapore stood at 1.30 billion securities, 9 per cent over the daily average in the first 11 months of 2019. Total turnover was $1.05 billion, just under the January-to-November daily average. Across the market, advancers trumped decliners 227 to 173. Nine of the benchmark's 30 counters ended in the red.

Local banks did the heavylifting on the STI. DBS Group Holdings added 0.6 per cent to $25.81, OCBC Bank was up 0.6 per cent to $10.96 as United Overseas Bank finished at $26.58, advancing 1.3 per cent.

Among companies in the second line, ISOTeam dipped 2.1 per cent to 23.5 cents after revealing it intends to raise about $28.9 million through a share placement and the issuance of warrants and shares to Japanese firm Taisei Oncho. The placement will see 84 million new shares issued at $0.24 each.

"Today's drop does not seem justified. Personally, I view this placement as positive. I will continue to monitor their progress on their contract momentum, placement completion and the acquisition of Pure Group," remisier Ernest Lim said.

Among real estate plays, Oxley Holdings added 1.4 per cent to close at 35.5 cents. The property developer announced on Monday after market close the divestment of an office development in Dublin, Ireland for €115 million (S$173 million).

RHB Securities analyst Jarick Seet said: "(The) proceeds from the sale will contribute positively to FY2020 cash flow." He added that he expects "much stronger quarters ahead, due to the recognition of the remaining Chevron House sales as well as its Dublin and Singapore projects".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore shares rise 0.3% amid mixed markets'. Subscribe