Bulls And Bears

STI ends week higher as Asian markets rally

Rebound comes amid news of possible compromise in US-China trade spat

The double trouble of trade war fears and property cooling measures appears to be abating as the Straits Times Index added 0.23 per cent, or 7.34 points, to close at 3,260.35 yesterday .

Gainers outpaced losers 225 to 154, with turnover at 1.72 billion shares worth $917.5 million.

The local index has gained nearly 1 per cent - or 31.53 points - over the course of the week, after ending at 3,228.82 on Monday.

Across the board, Asian equities rose yesterday following a record Wall Street run, as news broke that China and the United States could be looking to reach a compromise in their tit-for-tat trade dispute.

The Hang Seng ended 0.2 per cent higher at 28,525.44, its first weekly gain in a month, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 1.9 per cent due to a weaker yen.

A little optimism was injected into the markets as China's Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said the two largest economies should "sit down and try to find a solution" to the trade issue.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday said administration officials were available for negotiations, adding that they were not pushing for tariffs, but advocating free trade.

Temasek Holdings announced its net portfolio value hit a new high of $308 billion in the 12 months to March 31, with its one-year total shareholder return at 12.19 per cent.

It warned of near-term risks, including moderating global growth amid a riskier environment.

Among the actively traded stocks by volume yesterday, palm oil refiner Golden Agri-Resources kept up its high turnover with 23.96 million shares traded. Its share price rose 5.66 per cent to close at 28 cents.

The threat posed by its ageing trees was noted by Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Alvin Tai, who said its crop-yield deterioration will worsen as its proportion of prime-age trees declines further.

DBS was given a fillip after group chief executive Piyush Gupta announced on the sidelines of its Asian Insights Conference 2018 that the bank will be rolling out more branches in India through a subsidiary on approval. Its shares rose 25 cents to close at $26.25.

Shares in engineering services provider Acromec gained 4.23 per cent to 19.7 cents after it announced it had bagged a $2.9 million contract in the healthcare sector to boost its order book to $21 million.

The project is expected to contribute positively to the earnings per share and net tangible assets per share of the group for the current financial year ending in September, the company said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2018, with the headline 'STI ends week higher as Asian markets rally'. Print Edition | Subscribe