Bulls And Bears

STI rises 20 points on positive corporate news

Asian bourses mostly rebound, after early dip on Trump's Fed rate-hike criticism

Disappointing economic data at the start of the week belted local shares, but they found their footing on positive corporate news to end higher yesterday.

The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 20.25 points or 0.6 per cent to 3,297.83 - and ending 1.15 per cent or 37.48 points ahead for the week.

Around 1.39 billion shares worth $1.01 billion changed hands yesterday, with gainers outnumbering losers 239 to 145.

The three banks advanced, with DBS adding 16 cents to $26.26, while OCBC gained six cents to $11.31 and United Overseas Bank put on 15 cents to $26.43.

Genting Singapore was the most active, with 36.2 million shares changing hands. The leisure and hospitality player rose two cents to $1.28, on the back of a Bloomberg report stating Asian gaming-related stocks could rise on a casino Bill vote in Japan's Parliament yesterday.

Keppel Corporation gained 13 cents to $7.09 after announcing on Thursday that second-quarter net profit had surged 44 per cent to $246 million.

CapitaLand Mall Trust ended up two cents at $2.16 after announcing yesterday morning its second-quarter distribution per unit had risen 2.2 per cent to 2.81 cents.

Asian bourses fell earlier in the day on President Donald Trump's criticism of the United States Federal Reserve's rate hikes but they recovered to close mostly higher.

Mr Trump suggested that higher rates would put the US at a disadvantage compared with the European Union, China and Japan, allowing their currencies to weaken as the US dollar strengthens.

"Currency is now part of the trade war, folks," AxiTrader chief market strategist Greg McKenna told Agence France-Presse. "And it's worth pondering whether this is a president who is going to break with 25 to 30 years of tradition in not interfering in Fed policy deliberations."

The optimism that had buoyed European markets in the past few days ahead of the earnings season evaporated yesterday as corporate numbers missed expectations and trade tensions dragged down autos and financials.

Reactions to earnings also played a part in US markets, as mixed results, though mostly positive, led to declines in key indices.

"Of the 15 per cent of companies that have presented second-quarter earnings, 86 per cent have topped estimates," said IG Markets market strategist Pan Jingyi. Next week is one to watch as 34.5 per cent of firms on S&P 500 index will be announcing results, she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2018, with the headline 'STI rises 20 points on positive corporate news'. Print Edition | Subscribe