Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares stay out of regional rally

STI closes flat while other Asian markets rise on encouraging factory data from China

Singapore shares closed flat yesterday even as other Asian markets received a slight boost from China's upbeat factory data.

The Straits Times Index (STI) shed 0.18 point or 0.01 per cent to 2,813.69, its second day of decline this week, despite clocking gains in the morning. About 1.31 billion shares worth just $832.9 million changed hands across the bourse.

Shanghai was up 0.71 per cent after an official poll showed China's manufacturing sector grew at a faster pace than expected last month, and Hong Kong rose 0.93 per cent to end its five-day losing streak.

Tokyo climbed 0.1 per cent as the Bank of Japan, as expected, left its monetary policy unchanged.

Ms Margaret Yang, an analyst at CMC Markets Singapore, noted the positive numbers from China indicate "the economy has swung back into expansionary territory for a third consecutive month and show further stabilisation of Asia's largest economy".

"This will improve market sentiment and provide support to industrial metals," she added.

But she also said market sentiment will likely be dominated by rising uncertainty surrounding the US presidential election, following the FBI's investigation into Mrs Hillary Clinton's e-mails.

Wall Street traders remained on edge ahead of next week's polls and sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.1 per cent.

Only 14 of the 30 STI constituents rose yesterday while 14 fell and two were unchanged.

DBS Group Holdings slid one cent or 0.07 per cent to $14.99. Most analysts noted the bank's third-quarter earnings stayed resilient amid headwinds, but one from NetResearch Asia is keeping a "sell" call on the stock as the bank's net interest margins "have not hit (their) worst".

Outside of the STI, container ship operator Rickmers Maritime Trust slumped half a cent or 14.3 per cent to three cents, after reporting a net loss of US$74.7 million (S$103.9 million) for the third quarter to Sept 30, well down from a net profit of US$9 million a year earlier.

Rickmers unit holders on Monday approved the proposed issue of 1.3 billion new units to note holders as partial redemption of $60 million of the $100 million notes due in May next year.

Imperium Crown was flat at seven cents. The property investment firm said early yesterday it plans to invest $5 million in two cineplexes in China, which will open up opportunities for the group to tap the country's booming film industry.

Geo Energy Resources, which said on Monday that two units have entered into coal purchase and management service agreements to extract five million tonnes of coal from Angsana Jaya Energi, jumped one cent or 4.9 per cent to 21.5 cents in heavy trade.

Commodity trader Noble Group was the day's most active, slipping 0.1 cent or 0.6 per cent to 16.5 cents on 116.9 million shares done.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore shares stay out of regional rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe