Bulls And Bears

STI closes nearly flat amid mixed showing across region

• Local bourse recovers from 1.5% drop over previous week • Decliners outnumber advancers 245 to 219 • Nikkei up but Hang Seng, KLCI, Shanghai, CSI 300 indexes fall

The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 0.57 point, or 0.02 per cent, to 2,881.21, recovering from a 1.5 per cent drop over the previous week, as 3.27 billion shares worth $1.36 billion changed hands.

But losers still outnumbered gainers 245 to 219, on the heels of United States equities' slightly weaker finishing last Friday.

The biggest gainer was ST Engineering, which added 1.87 per cent to $3.82, following analysts' bullishness on its earnings recovery in the wake of its 2020 results release. RHB, OCBC Bank and CGS-CIMB all have "buy" ratings on the counter.

The biggest loser was industrial landlord Ascendas Reit, whose units fell 1.97 per cent to $2.99.

Last Friday, it announced that it had completed the acquisition of the land at 1 Giffnock Avenue in Sydney for the development of a suburban office building.

The most active counter of the day was Jiutian Chemical, which ended flat at 10.7 cents. Some 325.2 million shares changed hands.

Bloomberg data showed a block of 6.87 million shares in the group, equivalent to 0.5 per cent of its float, traded at a market value of $749,222 yesterday morning.

The region finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.46 per cent. "Hopes are rising that the state of emergency will be lifted as the number of new cases declines," said Okasan Online Securities' chief strategist Yoshihiro Ito.

But the Hang Seng Index lost 1.06 per cent, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.45 per cent, and Malaysia's KLCI lost 0.91 per cent. The tech-heavy CSI 300 took the heaviest blow, tumbling 3.14 per cent after the Chinese government unveiled new rules limiting the co-lending banks can do with digital lenders.

Investors are keeping an eye on testimony this week by US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell that is likely to support the market.

Additional information from Agence France-Presse

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2021, with the headline 'STI closes nearly flat amid mixed showing across region'. Subscribe