Bulls And Bears

STI ends flat on lack of direction and drivers

Mixed results in Asian markets despite overnight gains on Wall Street

Singapore stocks opened higher yesterday, but a lack of direction and drivers pared gains in the key Straits Times Index (STI), which finished flat.

Its performance broadly tracks a similar oscillating trend in the United States markets, with analysts noting that stock indices have been rising and falling without prominent drivers.

The STI finished 0.86 point, or 0.03 per cent, higher at 3,240.50.

Turnover was 1.43 billion shares worth $1.02 billion, compared with Tuesday's 1.6 billion shares worth $1.1 billion. Gainers edged out losers 189 to 182.

Of the three banks, only OCBC Bank ended higher at $11.15, after gaining three cents. DBS Group Holdings lost 15 cents to close at $25.86, while United Overseas Bank fell three cents to $25.89.

Foodcourt operator Koufu Group made its Singapore Exchange debut at 65 cents, two cents above its initial public offering price. However, the share price ended flat at 63 cents by the market's close, after 34.6 million shares changed hands.

Meanwhile, Keppel Corporation shares rose 17 cents to $6.85. Recent news that Sembcorp Marine's second-quarter results briefing would be held tomorrow, just one day after Keppel Corp's, resurfaced rumours of a possible imminent merger between Keppel Offshore & Marine and Sembcorp Marine.

Creative Technology's share price rose 53 cents to $6.32.

UOB Kay Hian analyst Foo Zhi Wei said he was unaware of any market reason for the movement, but noted that Creative appears to be on track for a third-quarter launch of its highly anticipated Super X-Fi dongle.

"Market gossip that the launch is just around the corner could be what is driving the price up again," he added.

Overnight gains on Wall Street were expected to boost Asian markets, but results were mixed at the end of trading yesterday. Markets in Malaysia, Australia and Japan advanced, while South Korea's Kospi index fell after the country announced it had cut its economic growth forecast for the year.

Hong Kong and China also ended lower, following a statement from the HKEX that it will work with the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges to include dual-class shares in their cross-border trading link.

US markets closed higher on Tuesday after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell spoke positively of the US economy's strength on the first day of his semi-annual testimony before Congress.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2018, with the headline 'STI ends flat on lack of direction and drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe