Bulls And Bears

STI rises on robust numbers from China

They help counter disappointing March export data from Singapore

Local investors were more optimistic than many regional peers yesterday after a day of largely positive news.

Robust numbers from China, from first-quarter growth to industrial production and retail sales data for March, set the stage for an upbeat day despite disappointing export data from Singapore.

The Straits Times Index (STI) responded by outperforming other regional bourses, rising 16.6 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 3,348.64.

Trading hit 1.18 billion shares worth $1.15 billion, while losers slightly outpaced gainers 213 to 206.

Elsewhere, China and Japan performed well while Australia dropped 0.3 per cent.

CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said: "The improved China data helped to underpin weakness from non-oil domestic exports in Singapore, which fell 11.7 per cent in March due to a heavy decline in the electronics sector.

"Investors believe that the worst is probably behind us, and the economy could rebound as demand from China is likely to pick up."

Casino operator Genting Singapore was the STI's most traded; it fell 0.5 per cent to 96 cents with 25.9 million shares changing hands.

The three local banks all ended in positive territory.

"Even though earnings reports by the US banks were mixed, they are considered more positive than not and have helped to support the Singapore-listed banks," a trader said.

DBS added 1.2 per cent to $27.49, OCBC put on 0.3 per cent to $11.72 and United Overseas Bank advanced 0.8 per cent to $26.87.

Among non-STI stocks, Asian Pay Television Trust continued its run as the bourse's most traded this week, with 71.2 million units traded as it fell 6.9 per cent to 17.6 cents. It gained 31.7 per cent in the week's first two sessions after its trustee-manager announced an independent strategic review of the trust and its main asset, Taiwan Broadband Communications Group.

Real estate investment trusts, or Reits, underperformed, with the iEdge S-Reit 20 Index down 0.75 per cent on the day. A remisier said "the sector is facing some correction after its rally this year and investors are moving away from defensive plays to more 'risk on' ones".

Three Reits that count logistics player CWT Limited as a key tenant rebounded from Tuesday's sell-off after CWT's parent missed interest and fee payments. Cache Logistics Trust gained 0.7 per cent to 72 cents, Mapletree Logistics Trust advanced 1.4 per cent to $1.44 and AIMS Apac Reit added 1.4 per cent to $1.41.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2019, with the headline 'STI rises on robust numbers from China'. Print Edition | Subscribe