Bulls And Bears

STI rebounds on good inflation numbers

But index weighed down by ThaiBev, Sembcorp and SembMarine

Local shares bounced back into positive territory yesterday due to good inflation numbers for last month.

The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 44.76 points, or 1.28 per cent, to 3,533.22 - and up 2.2 per cent for the week and 3.8 per cent for the year so far.

Yesterday's rise came after news that inflation came in at zero per cent for last month.

IG Asia market strategist Pan Jingyi warned that "with the volatility expected into next week, one should not be surprised to see a back and forth pacing of current levels".

Thai Beverage weighed down the STI to an extent. It lost two cents to 81 cents with 62.63 million shares changing hands, making it the most-traded constituent stock.

The company has struggled to keep its lustre since turning in first-quarter earnings that were well below expectations and amid doubts over financing plans for its costly Sabeco acquisition in Vietnam.

Phillip Securities Research analyst Soh Lin Sin slashed the target price on Thursday from $1.18 to $1.05, writing that ThaiBev faces "near-term pressures with long-term positive".

Sembcorp Industries lost three cents to $3.24, after clocking a disappointing 84.6 per cent drop in fourth-quarter net profit. The long-expected news that it has kick-started the listing process for an Indian unit failed to salve the wound.

Meanwhile, Sembcorp Marine slipped for a second day, losing 10 cents, or 4.29 per cent, to $2.23 after falling into the red for the three months to Dec 31, 2017.

Penny stock Nico Steel Holdings topped the actives list with 311.24 million shares traded. It shed 0.1 cent, or 25 per cent, to 0.3 cent.

In second place was JEP Holdings, which added 1.5 cents, or 19.74 per cent, to 9.1 cents on a turnover of 125.87 million shares. The manufacturer announced a management shake-up on Thursday night with UMS Holdings founder and chief executive Andy Luong taking over as executive chairman.

UMS, a mainboard-listed precision engineering company, became a major shareholder of JEP on Jan 15. It closed up two cents at $1.15.

Creative Technology more than doubled in value yesterday, adding $1.63, or 130.4 per cent, at $2.88 after news that it has developed high-tech headphones.

Other Asian markets were also in fine form yesterday. The Nikkei rose 0.72 per cent, the Hang Seng was up 0.97 per cent while the Kospi advanced 1.54 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2018, with the headline 'STI rebounds on good inflation numbers'. Subscribe