Bulls And Bears

STI inches up amid lacklustre sentiment

But smaller counters such as Allied Tech, Trendlines Group see unusual activity

Investors must still be reeling after last week's record-breaking push, going by yet another anaemic day on the bourse yesterday.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) was as lacklustre as it was on Monday, ending up 5.99 points or 0.17 per cent at 3,442.35 - right back to where it started the week.

Shipbuilder Yangzijiang, which has rallied significantly this year, notably fell 4.8 per cent or eight cents to $1.59.

While the usual suspects dominated trading, unusual activity was seen in some smaller counters.

About 235 million shares changed hands at precision engineer Allied Tech, which makes printer and copier parts. It stayed flat at 6.8 cents.

And Israeli venture capital play The Trendlines Group rebounded 10 per cent or 1.5 cents to 16 cents.

Coal prices have been rebounding, and interest in Singapore-listed Indonesia coal miner Geo Energy Resources picked up a notch after a giant off-market trade of 44.65 million shares at 25 cents yesterday afternoon. The counter ended at 26 cents, up 0.5 cent.

Geo Energy reported a net profit of US$8.6 million (S$11.6 million) for the three months to Sept 30 on revenue of US$74.9 million, driven by strong Chinese demand amid restricted domestic coal production.

Coincidentally, a Phillip Securities Research report out yesterday morning maintained a "buy" call and a target price of 44 cents.

It noted that production is much better than a year ago, and fresh senior note funding helps the company's liquidity needs.

Sweeter stuff was also in play. Over 12 million shares in chocolate seller Delfi, formerly known as Petra Foods, changed hands off-market at $1.34.

Delfi stock has slumped in recent months amid weak sentiment in key market Indonesia. It has made senior management changes and cut underperforming products.

Separately, the Singapore market's deal of the day was made by China's debt-soaked developer China Evergrande Group, a stock up 450 per cent this year as it tries to pare down its borrowings.

The firm is buying a Chongqing development and getting a land parcel from Ying Li International, a China developer listed here.

Also, expectations for economic growth continue to be strong. Yesterday, Citi's research team distributed a major report on the global economic outlook and strategy in 2018.

It said a broad-based rebound in spending on machinery and equipment is ongoing, and this can prolong the business cycle.

Emerging markets were also supported, partly by a surprise growth spurt in China, although a 2018 slowdown remains a risk.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2017, with the headline 'STI inches up amid lacklustre sentiment'. Print Edition | Subscribe