Bulls And Bears

STI rises 1% as Asian markets rebound

Uptick despite 0.2% overnight fall for Dow, as doubts linger over Trump govt's reform drive

Regional markets managed to calm their nerves to turn in a more positive showing yesterday, with Singapore also seeing a slight bounce.

The region was led by Sydney's 1.3 per cent jump, while Hong Kong rose 0.63 per cent and Tokyo added 1.14 per cent.

At home, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 30.94 points or 0.99 per cent higher at 3,157.82. Trading was fairly active, with 1.85 billion shares worth $1.21 billion changing hands.

The healthy showing came despite a 0.22 per cent overnight drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as questions lingered over the US administration's ability to carry out the reforms it promised. This followed the withdrawal of President Donald Trump's signature healthcare Bill last Friday.

But these concerns took a back seat yesterday, in the Asian region at least, when 27 of the 30 STI component stocks ended in the black.

The top performer was ComfortDelGro, which jumped seven cents or 2.81 per cent to $2.56 on 19.29 million shares traded.

The transport operator is expected to benefit after the Land Transport Authority gave the green light to a proposal for the dynamic pricing of taxi fares. OCBC gave the firm a buy call with a $2.95 fair value.

"In our view, we believe this move will further level the playing field between taxi companies and private-hire car service providers by closing the gap between the different fare structures," OCBC said in a recent note, adding that dividend yield will also increase as ComfortDelGro receives cash from the sale of bus assets to the LTA.

Genting Singapore rose for the second straight day, gaining 1.5 cents or 1.51 per cent to $1.01 with 25.28 million shares traded.

Singapore Exchange (SGX) rose 15 cents or 1.98 per cent to $7.71. CIMB analyst Jessalynn Chen recently upgraded the bourse's rating to buy with an $8.09 target price, citing an improved outlook under chief executive Loh Boon Chye.

"We see improved market liquidity, better retail participation, a healthier pipeline of initial public offerings, better cost management and a more targeted business focus," she said.

Singapore Press Holdings also gained, rising three cents or 0.85 per cent to $3.57. In the property sector, CapitaLand closed two cents or 0.55 per cent higher at $3.66, and UOL surged 12 cents or 1.75 per cent to $6.98.

Only one STI stock fell. Hutchison Port Holdings Trust dropped half a US cent or 1.22 per cent to 40.5 US cents.

In the small-cap segment, ISR Capital shot up 0.6 cent or 120 per cent to 1.1 cents - the market's top active with 174.39 million shares traded.

This came a day after the company, which focuses on investment in the resource industries, gave a lengthy response to SGX queries on its financial performance and an impairment loss in 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2017, with the headline 'STI rises 1% as Asian markets rebound'. Print Edition | Subscribe