Bulls And Bears

STI edges up despite geopolitical concerns

Genting Singapore among most hotly traded counters on talk of institutional buying

Singapore shares ended on a higher note yesterday as a firmer opening in Europe helped offset cautious sentiment over rising geopolitical tensions in Europe, the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula.

The Straits Times Index closed 0.35 per cent or 11.26 points higher at 3,186.01. It was helped in large part by Genting Singapore, which gained 3.3 per cent or 3.5 cents to $1.10.

The casino operator was among the most hotly traded counters, rising on talk of institutional buying and growing investor confidence in the gaming industry. This is due to its efforts to target the mass market, rather than rely on high rollers, given China's crackdown on corruption among officials.

In recent years, casinos have shifted to courting tourists and building family-friendly casinos in Macau.

"There is also talk of the gaming company's ability to maintain its dividend payout, and rumours around its bid for the Japanese integrated resort," a trader said.

The market was also boosted by Global Logistic Properties. It gained 2.5 per cent or seven cents to $2.88, while OCBC Group climbed 1.1 per cent or 11 cents to $9.70. Developer Heeton surged 21.11 per cent or 9.5 cents to 54.5 cents, on speculation over its suburban Sun Plaza mall after Jurong Point mall was sold for a handsome $2.2 billion last week, a remisier said.

Other actively traded counters included Singtel, which lost 1.5 per cent or six cents to $3.82, with 57.7 million shares traded. Noble Group gained 2.7 per cent or 0.5 cent to 18.8 cents, with 54.6 million shares traded. Artivision Technologies was flat at 2.3 cents on trade of 50.4 million shares.

Meanwhile, the market was not fazed by news that Rickmers Maritime, a Singapore-listed trust that operates container ships, is to be wound up after it was unable to reach an agreement with its lenders to restructure its debt or raise new equity. Trading in Rickmers Maritime units has been suspended since last November.

PACC Offshore Services was flat at 35 cents, after OCBC Investment Research upgraded its call to hold, saying the company is "still in (a) relatively better position, with positive operating cash flows".

"The group has been enjoying good relations with its banks and has also been able to secure contracts for its vessels from the Middle East," the broker said.

Singapore Press Holdings shed 1.1 per cent or four cents to $3.52, ahead of the release of its second-quarter results after the market closed yesterday. The group posted a net profit of $53.5 million for the quarter, down 1.2 per cent from the same period a year ago, on revenue of $238 million.

Singapore Exchange (SGX) was flat at $7.58 despite CIMB's add call on the stock exchange operator. An increase in the value of shares traded, tight cost control and more IPOs could drive earnings growth for the SGX, it noted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2017, with the headline 'STI edges up despite geopolitical concerns'. Print Edition | Subscribe