Bulls And Bears

STI retreats after hitting 2-year high last week

No lift from results of local blue chips, US tech giants, but manufacturers up on strong data

Early earnings results from local blue chips and United States technology giants failed to give a fresh shot of adrenaline to traders here yesterday.

The Straits Times Index slipped 10.47 points, or 0.31 per cent, to close at 3,375.97 after finishing last week at a two-year high.

The strong factory output numbers for last month, released last Thursday, did give some sizzle to manufacturing stocks yesterday, especially in the stellar electronics and precision engineering sub-sectors.

Electronics services provider Venture Corporation added 37 cents, or 2 per cent, to hit $18.90.

Micro-Mechanics (Holdings), which reported a record 53 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit yesterday, climbed 17.5 cents, or 9.4 per cent, to reach $2.03.

And Combine Will International Holdings, which makes consumer products as well as plastic injection moulds and precision tools, rose 23 cents, or 27 per cent, to $1.08.

The China-based manufacturer announced yesterday a 200-million-yuan (S$41 million) deal with a local government in Guangxi province to build a production plant.

OCBC Bank, which posted a 12 per cent growth in third-quarter earnings last week, put on 14 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $11.94.

Analyst Ng Li Hiang of Maybank Kim Eng has bumped up the target price for the stock from $11.05 to $12 - albeit still with a "hold" call.

She noted that margin compression from competition is likely to offset some of the gains from higher Singdollar rates.

But OCBC was an outlier among the three local banks, as DBS dropped by 14 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $22.54 and UOB shed 27 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $24.73.

Another loser was OUE Lippo Healthcare, down 0.9 cent, or 7.2 per cent, to 11.6 cents on the news of a lawsuit against two of its China-based subsidiaries.

Raffles Medical Group, which reported a 1 per cent growth in third-quarter earnings, fell 2.5 cents, or 2.2 per cent, to $1.125.

Supermarket chain Sheng Siong Group's third-quarter results last week were within analyst expectations with a 25.3 per cent bump in net profit on the back of one-off tax refunds. But that failed to translate into a lift for the counter, which closed flat at 94 cents, even as PhillipCapital analyst Soh Lin Sin raised his recommendation to a "buy" and the target price from $1.06 to $1.13.

Local investors' eyes may soon turn to Sembcorp Marine, which is the next bigwig on the bourse with its results due out today after market close. The counter rose 6.5 cents, or 3.5 per cent, to $1.915.

Some other Asian markets had similarly muted days with Hong Kong's Hang Seng down 0.36 per cent and Shanghai off 0.77 per cent.

But Seoul perked up by 0.21 per cent on demand from foreign investors, while Tokyo added 0.01 per cent after Japan's retail sales figures rose in line with expectations.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2017, with the headline 'STI retreats after hitting 2-year high last week'. Print Edition | Subscribe