Bulls And Bears

S'pore stocks lifted by slew of positive news

Boost from record Wall St close, trade deal progress, fading fears of no-deal Brexit

Singapore equities had positives to digest after the long weekend, with investors here buoyed by Monday's record close on Wall Street, concrete progress on the US-China trade front, and diminishing fears of a no-deal Brexit.

The Straits Times Index opened 1 per cent higher but profit taking after last week's strong performance saw the benchmark close at 3,197.04, an 11.51 point or 0.36 per cent gain. Even though 17 of 30 counters ended in the red, the banks and Jardine counters ensured the blue-chip index stayed in positive territory.

"The US-China trade conflict remains a critical near-term narrative for the equity market, and with Washington and Beijing coalescing around phase one of the trade deal, the market has started pricing in bullish expectations around phase two, which is thought to include a complete withdrawal of the proposed December US tariffs," said AxiTrader Asia-Pacific market strategist Stephen Innes.

Elsewhere in the region, Australia, Japan and Malaysia posted gains. South Korea was flat while China and Hong Kong closed lower.

The Shanghai Composite Index fared the worst, dropping 0.9 per cent. It was weighed down by tech suppliers to Huawei after news that the United States Federal Communications Commission plans to vote to designate Huawei and ZTE as national security risks.

In Singapore, trading volume stood at 1.09 billion securities, 91 per cent of the daily average in the first nine months of this year. Total turnover clocked in at $1.46 billion, 35 per cent over the January-to-September daily average. Decliners trumped gainers 235 to 178.

Local tech stocks were mostly higher. They were led by AEM Holdings, which added 0.7 per cent to $1.49. It is up 84 per cent this year.

Singapore Exchange market strategist Geoff Howie said the tech solutions provider "has been the strongest performer among Singapore's 50 most traded stocks both in the month of October, and the 2019 year to date".

Eagle Hospitality Trust (EHT) gained as much as 9 per cent yesterday after saying that expenses for the repair works of cruise liner Queen Mary will not be borne by the trust, but by its sponsor Urban Commons. EHT units eventually closed 3.7 per cent higher at 56.5 US cents on 29.3 million shares traded.

The local banks were higher. DBS closed up 0.8 per cent at $25.37, OCBC Bank added 0.3 per cent to $10.79, while United Overseas Bank closed at $26.40, rising 1.2 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore stocks lifted by slew of positive news'. Print Edition | Subscribe