Bulls And Bears

STI inches up, with a little help from banks

Singapore Exchange also does its bit to lift index while Singtel goes opposite way

Singapore stocks ended yesterday with slight gains, led mainly by the banks.

The key Straits Times Index (STI) edged up 0.1 per cent, or 1.77 points, to 3,328.6. Losers outnumbered gainers 203 to 173. Turnover came in at about 1.66 billion shares worth $1.11 billion, versus 1.59 billion units worth $1.31 billion the day before.

The most actively traded counter by volume was QT Vascular, which rose 8.3 per cent, or 0.1 cent, to 1.3 cents on 40.9 million shares exchanging hands.

Also heavily traded was Golden Agri-Resources, which fell 1.8 per cent, or 0.5 cent, to 28 cents on 32.8 million shares traded.

In a research note released earlier this month, brokerage OCBC Investment Research maintained a "hold" rating on the counter, lowering its fair value estimate from 34 cents to 30 cents, citing a bearish outlook on crude palm oil prices.

The brokerage also noted the Indonesian rupiah has weakened substantially against the greenback, exposing the group to a currency translation risk, since its expenses in Indonesia are mainly denominated in rupiah, but its financials are reported in US dollars.

On the banking front, DBS was up 2.5 per cent, or 67 cents, to $27.14; UOB rose 1.7 per cent, or 46 cents, to $27.35; and OCBC inched up 0.3 per cent, or three cents, to $11.69.

Also boosting the STI was Singapore Exchange which rose 0.8 per cent, or six cents, to $7.58. The local bourse has announced that it is back in discussions with the National Stock Exchange of India on a potential collaboration.

Meanwhile, the main laggard on the STI yesterday was telco Singtel, which lost 3.9 per cent, or 13 cents, to close at $3.19.

Among counters that recently released their financial results, Frasers Commercial Trust was down 1.4 per cent, or two cents, to $1.44. This comes as it announced a distribution per unit of 2.4 cents for its fiscal third quarter, flat from a year ago. Net property income also fell 26.9 per cent to $20.37 million on the back of a 15.2 per cent drop in revenue.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo closed lower on caution over a Bank of Japan meeting next week, with the Nikkei 225 ending down 0.12 per cent, or 27.38 points, to 22,586.87.

After a four-day winning streak, Hong Kong stocks also slipped as renewed trade worries prompted caution among investors. The Hang Seng index fell 0.5 per cent to 28,781.14 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.74 per cent, or 21.42 points, to 2,882.23.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2018, with the headline 'STI inches up, with a little help from banks'. Subscribe