STI rises as Govt eases some property curbs

Singapore benchmark advances 0.47%, with most gains led by property plays

Singapore shares ended the week on a positive note, thanks to fresh moves by the Government to ease some property curbs.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) advanced 14.51 points or 0.47 per cent to 3,133.35 - marking a weekly increase of 11.01 points or 0.35 per cent.

Most of the STI's gains were led by property plays, including CapitaLand, which jumped 13 cents or 3.6 per cent to $3.70, and City Developments, which moved up 54 cents or 5.6 per cent to $10.15.

The banks were a mixed bag, with OCBC Bank putting on eight cents or 0.8 per cent to $9.56, while United Overseas Bank slipped three cents or 0.1 per cent to $21.39.

DBS Group Holdings dipped one cent or 0.05 per cent to $18.93.

Outside of the blue chips, ISR Capital soared 13.6 per cent or 0.3 cent to 2.5 cents. The company said on Wednesday that its largest shareholder, Mr David Rigoll, has resigned as an executive director and that he also breached a moratorium by offloading some of his stake in the open market.

Mr Rigoll had resigned with effect from March 6 after a pay dispute with the board.

Sembcorp Marine slid half a cent or 0.3 per cent to $1.915 as crude prices remained under pressure.

Meanwhile, the manager of Saizen Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) said after market close that the proposed reverse takeover (RTO) deal between the Reit and Sime Darby Property will not proceed, and that the Reit will be liquidated.

It noted that "it is not possible to complete the proposed RTO transaction" by March 31. The Reit last traded at 5.2 cents on Tuesday.

Disa, formerly known as Equation Summit, was the day's most heavily traded counter. The stock surged 10.7 per cent or 0.3 cent to 3.1 cents, with 170.2 million shares changing hands.

Other actives included Cacola Furniture International, which plummeted 50 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.1 cent, and Oceanus Group, up 20 per cent or 0.2 cent to 1.2 cents.

Turnover across the bourse came up to 1.66 billion shares worth $1.3 billion.

Markets elsewhere in Asia mostly put up a strong showing as well: Tokyo rose 1.48 per cent, Hong Kong climbed 0.29 per cent and Sydney gained 0.6 per cent.

Shanghai was among the outliers, paring 0.12 per cent.

Wall Street inched up 0.01 per cent overnight as traders stood on the sidelines, ahead of United States non-farm payroll data due today.

CMC Markets Singapore market analyst Margaret Yang said in a note: "(This could reveal) the last piece of the puzzle which will determine the Federal Reserve's rate-hike decision next week."

DBS Group Research said that a rate hike next week is "already a certainty".

It said: "It would probably require a disastrous miss in payrolls to change the market's mind."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2017, with the headline 'STI rises as Govt eases some property curbs'. Print Edition | Subscribe