Bulls And Bears

STI holds firm amid sell-offs in North Asia

Analyst says investors here still positive on fundamentals; Asian rebound unlikely yet

Markets the world over faced heavy sell-offs last week but the question on investors' minds had been whether a rebound was in sight.

Going by how Asian equities resumed declines yesterday after gains in the early session, signs are that the mood dampening markets is likely to drag on.

On equity sell-offs in Asia, FXTM's chief market strategist Hussein Sayed said: "The bears seem well in control of the market and there are many reasons to justify their actions. Whether it's weakening global economic growth, the ongoing US-China trade war, monetary policy tightening, fears of a hard Brexit or Italy's budget woes… the list goes on."

He added: "What is more interesting is that investors are even punishing companies that have reported positive earnings surprises."

In Singapore, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 0.32 per cent or 9.52 points higher to 2,981.54, under the key support level of 3,000. CMC market analyst Margaret Yang told The Straits Times the Singapore market held firm despite a broader sell-off in North Asia as investors remained positive on the fundamentals, but a true rebound would occur only after both the US and Chinese stock markets stopped bleeding.

Turnover on the Singapore bourse stood at roughly 1.62 billion shares worth $867 million in total. Decliners outnumbered advancers 202 to 162.

The flavour of the day was Creative Technology, which soared 68 cents or 12.6 per cent to close at $6.08. The home-grown consumer electronics firm revealed that its Super X-Fi audio device will go on sale in the United States from Thursday.

The usually thinly traded Pine Capital was the bourse's most hotly traded stock, with a turnover of 71.6 million shares. The STI's biggest loser in dollar terms was electronics manufacturing services firm Venture Corporation, which fell 16 cents or 1 per cent to close at $15.33, a 52-week low. In percentage terms, palm oil player Golden Agri-Resources, which saw several executives of its subsidiaries arrested by the Indonesian authorities in a bribery probe over the weekend, was the index's biggest loser. It closed 2 per cent lower at $0.25.

Among key regional markets, the Shanghai Composite bore the brunt of investors' jitters over weak profits for industrial and consumer companies. This added fuel to mounting concerns about the slowing Chinese economy despite Beijing's attempts to stabilise stock markets. The index fell 2.2 per cent or 56.74 points to close at 2,542.1. The other Asian markets were mixed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2018, with the headline 'STI holds firm amid sell-offs in North Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe