Bulls And Bears

STI reverses Tuesday's losses with 0.6% gain

Only five of 30 STI constituents end in the red, but they include DBS

Local shares showed some life yesterday after a tepid start to the week, although there was not much to write home about in the end.

The extra buzz about the place allowed the Straits Times Index (STI) to reverse Tuesday's losses with a gain of 0.57 per cent, or 18.58 points, to 3,278.38.

There were 1.35 billion shares worth $1.12 billion traded, with gainers trumping losers 249 to 167.

Only five of the 30 STI constituents ended in the red but they included DBS, which fell 0.08 per cent to $25.08.

News broke yesterday morning that the bank is revamping its retail stock-brokerage operations and exploring alternative models to its broking arm, DBS Vickers.

It is believed a townhall meeting has been called amid rumours that DBS plans to move good performers into wealth management and drop non-performing remisiers.

DBS had earlier reported fourth-quarter results, which missed some forecasts, with analysts cutting their target prices for the counter.

Other decliners yesterday included Creative Technology, which fell 0.82 per cent to $4.81, despite having been "blessed" by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, in one trader's words. But that bit of gloom did not dampen spirits, especially for Sembcorp Marine.

The counter surged 6.33 per cent to $1.68 and was the day's fifth-most active stock by traded value.

This came despite the offshore engineering group's sharp drop in fourth-quarter earnings, as analysts and traders said the results beat their expectations.

DBS analyst Yeo Kee Yan also highlighted the fact that oil prices have risen in the past three weeks, which should help Sembcorp Marine's stock price.

Indeed, pricier crude appeared to lift optimism on energy-related firms. Aside from SembMarine, Sembcorp Industries and Keppel Corp also traded up.

Sembcorp Industries added 3.5 per cent to $2.66, while Keppel Corp closed up 3.27 per cent at $6.32.

On the property front, CapitaLand rose as much as 1.5 per cent after reporting a 71.2 per cent surge in fourth-quarter profit and declaring a dividend of 12 cents a share.

The counter finished 1.18 per cent higher at $3.43. Sasseur Reit added 4.05 per cent to 77 cents after fourth-quarter distribution per unit beat forecasts a day earlier.

Elsewhere, markets across Asia generally closed higher as well, after US President Donald Trump signalled flexibility around the crucial trade truce deadline of March 1.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2019, with the headline 'STI reverses Tuesday's losses with 0.6% gain'. Print Edition | Subscribe