STI closes 8 points higher

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) Centre at Shenton Way.
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) Centre at Shenton Way. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE -Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index on Tuesday (July 18) crossed the 3,300 mark to close at 3,306.08 points, a gain of 7.84 points or 0.24 per cent. This came as the greenback slumped to a fresh low, opening Asian equities to capital in-flow.

The STI performance was matched by muted gains in the Hang Seng and the mainland Chinese markets, following Monday (July 17)'s small-cap tumble, although elsewhere in East Asia, Japan returned from a three-day weekend to a 0.59 per cent slide on the Nikkei 225.

The tide on the Singapore Exchange once more lifted Global Logistic Properties, which gained two cents, or 0.6 per cent, to finish at S$3.33 a share.

This still comes in under the offer price of S$3.38 a share that was made in a Chinese consortium's bid for the warehouse operator last week.

Share prices also rose again for coal trader Sincap, which continued to lead Singapore stocks by volume traded. The stock ended the day at 3.3 cents, an increase of 0.3 cents, or 10 per cent. Another actively traded stock was underground utilities infrastructure provider Ley Choon Group Holdings, which was up by 0.3 cents, or close to 5.36 per cent, for a closing price of 5.9 cents.

It was a mixed bag for local banks, with DBS leading the pack at $21.80, a gain of 36 cents, or about 1.68 per cent. UOB closed up eight cents, or 0.33 per cent, at $24.08.

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank was down by one cent, or 0.09 per cent, with a closing share price of $11.08.

Singtel shares also slipped by one cent, closing about 0.26 per cent lower at $3.90. The telecommunications company is divesting its NetLink NBN Trust fibre broadband unit in a $2.3 billion initial public offering, with trading set to begin on the Singapore Exchange today (July 19).

The day's fourth-most traded stock by volume was Singapore Press Holdings, where share prices fell by eight cents, or 2.64 per cent, to $2.95. This drop came on the back of a 45.2 per cent fall in third-quarter net profit. OCBC Investment Research head Carmen Lee has lowered her fair value estimate for the stock to $3.25, down from $3.34 in late June.

With all said and done, IG Asia analyst Pan Jingyi forecast yesterday in a morning note that Asian markets should "hold relatively steady in anticipation of fresh leads".

Those include the dim prospects for the depreciating US dollar, which has faltered in the wake of the United States' struggle to pass a Republican-led healthcare reform Bill. Sydney-based currency strategist Rodrigo Catril told Bloomberg: "Any hopes of dollar support from a successful vote on the Senate's healthcare bill look to be vanishing." He added that, in the near term, "the dollar path of least resistance is down".