Bulls And Bears

STI stages late rally on day of uncertainty

Asian markets end mixed despite Chinese govt's boost to financial system

Uncertainty reigned supreme in major global economies yesterday, after the United Kingdom Parliament voted down the latest Brexit deal and the partial US government shutdown entered its 25th day.

The Chinese government's largest one-day injection of liquidity into China's financial system might have been a strong catalyst on a quieter day, but instead struggled to cut through the noise.

Subsequently, Asian markets ended the day mixed.

The Straits Times Index put up a generally uninspiring performance, peaking early at 3,230.77 before drifting downwards. However, it staged a late rally to finish near the day's high, up 16.81 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 3,229.11.

Turnover on the bourse was 1.12 billion securities worth $1 billion, compared with 1.6 billion securities worth $1.17 billion on Tuesday. Advancers outnumbered decliners 216 to 174.

Oil and gas counters Ezion Holdings and Rex International Holding led active trading with volumes of 40.5 million and 31.4 million shares respectively.

Oil prices rose about 3 per cent on Tuesday, buoyed in part by the Chinese government's fiscal stimulus to stabilise the country's slowing economy. Ezion added 0.1 cent, or 2.04 per cent, to close at five cents, and Rex International, up 0.2 cent, or 2.7 per cent, to 7.6 cents.

Other active stocks included ThaiBev, which gained for a ninth straight day. About 28.7 million shares of the spirit maker changed hands, ending 1.5 cents, or 2.11 per cent, higher at 72.5 cents.

Shares of casino operator Genting Singapore gained one cent, or 0.94 per cent, to $1.08, with volume at 22.4 million.

RHB Research said yesterday it maintains its "buy" call on the counter, given its potential expansion into Japan and upcoming reinvestment in Resorts World Sentosa.

RHB said Genting had a good chance of winning a Japan casino licence with its "track record as an integrated resorts casino operator in Singapore that adheres to stringent regulatory requirements".

AEM Holdings saw 14.7 million shares traded and closed four cents, or 4.44 per cent, up at 94 cents. The semiconductor equipment maker said one of its testing products had been approved to certify cabling systems from leading providers.

Investors should expect volatility and uncertainty in the coming days, market watchers say. The US government shutdown shows no signs of ending, and could force the US economy into a contraction.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2019, with the headline 'STI stages late rally on day of uncertainty'. Print Edition | Subscribe