Bulls And Bears

STI takes its cue from red-hot Wall Street

Buoyant mood from Trump's potential policy moves pushes S'pore shares up a second day

Singapore shares rose for the second straight day yesterday, taking a cue from Wall Street, where expectations over United States President Donald Trump's upcoming tax plans continue to build.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed up 8.21 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 3,096.69, with a busy 2.69 billion shares worth $1.3 billion changing hands across the whole market.

The rise followed the overnight gains on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which added 0.52 per cent, putting it almost 4 per cent up over the past month, with one record high after another.

Mr Trump told retail chain chief executives on Wednesday that a tax overhaul is on the way to help stimulate the economy.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said: "With adjectives like 'phenomenal' and 'massive' used, there is little wonder the markets have been reacting the way they have. For momentum to be sustained, the key would lie with the delivery of this growth booster."

The buoyant sentiment stemming from Mr Trump's potential policy moves has been a particular boon for financial-sector stocks worldwide.

This was acknowledged by DBS Group Holdings chief executive Piyush Gupta at the bank's results briefing yesterday. He noted that the share price increase "has nothing to do with underlying performance".

DBS was one of the 16 STI components that rose yesterday, adding 31 cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $18.54, despite the 9 per cent drop in its fourth-quarter profits. United Overseas Bank put on seven cents, or 0.34 per cent, to $20.82, ahead of its results announcement today.

Thai Beverage topped the index gainers, up two cents, or 2.13 per cent, to 96 cents on 46.2 million shares traded. OCBC analyst Jodie Foo gave the food and beverage giant a "buy" rating and a fair value estimate of $1.01 as its first-quarter results tabled earlier this week were within expectations despite a weaker consumer environment.

Singapore Technologies Engineering also went up on earnings news. It added one cent, or 0.29 per cent, to $3.40 after announcing a whopping 21 per cent net profit jump in the fourth quarter.

On the other end of the STI, 11 stocks ended in the red, led by Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which pared 2.5 US cents, or 6.02 per cent, to 39 US cents.

Property stocks did not fare well, with UOL Group down 13 cents, or 1.95 per cent, to $6.55, while City Developments eased 17 cents, or 1.82 per cent, to $9.17.

Meanwhile, activity was buoyant outside the benchmark segment, with the Catalist Index hitting 521.24 points, its highest since late 2015.

Medical technology outfit QT Vascular was part of the action, rising half a cent, or 8.33 per cent, to 6.5 cents, with 141.9 million shares traded. Yuuzoo added half a cent, or 3.42 per cent, to 15.1 cents, with 48.8 million shares traded.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'STI takes its cue from red-hot Wall Street'. Print Edition | Subscribe