Bulls And Bears

STI takes a dip with looming trade storm

Regional bourses also tumble on fears over escalating dispute between US, China

Regional stock markets were in the red yesterday as investors eyed gathering economic and political storm clouds.

The concerns left the benchmark Straits Times Index down 29.76 points, or 0.91 per cent, to 3,238.94.

Investors are bracing themselves for Friday, when China and the United States are to unleash tariffs on each other.

The US is set to impose levies on about US$34 billion (S$46.5 billion) worth of Chinese goods, while China is tipped to return fire with a 25 per cent tariff on soya beans in addition to hikes on pork duties.

Chinese stocks were battered by worries over the looming possibility of an escalating trade war.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 retreated more than 2 per cent, in line with tumbling Chinese stocks, to a 10-week low.

Bourses in South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia were also down.

Meanwhile, real estate service group PropNex enjoyed its first day as a listed company, closing 10 per cent up at 71.5 cents.

"PropNex has made a commendable debut on SGX today, despite weakness in the broader market," noted insight provider Royston Foo on Smartkarma.

"Strong demand from institutional investors and funds for the initial public offering are contributing factors towards the positive trading sentiments in the share."

He added that the sell-off in APAC Realty shares could be a sign of investors re-allocating their funds to PropNex.

APAC Realty, Singapore's second-largest real estate agency, fell 5.42 per cent to 78.5 cents.

Flash estimates yesterday showed private home prices rose 3.4 per cent in the second quarter, after a rise of 3.9 per cent in the first.

The near-term outlook of the real estate sector is set to remain promising, RHB Research analyst Vijay Natarajan said in a research note.

One of the top picks in the big-cap space is CapitaLand, due to its recent rationalising of its China portfolio and its active capital recycling strategy, Mr Natarajan said.

CGS-Cimb Research's Ms Lock Mun Yee also kept her "add" rating on CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) at a target price of $1.90, noting: "CCT is monetising (office block) Twenty Anson for $516 million, 19.2 per cent above its Dec 17 valuation."

OCBC Investment Research also kept its "hold" rating on CCT with a $1.84 fair value.

The brokerage also maintained its "buy" rating on Frasers Commercial Trust, adjusting its fair value from $1.54 to $1.53.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2018, with the headline 'STI takes a dip with looming trade storm'. Print Edition | Subscribe