Bulls And Bears

Traders take a 'rest' ahead of holiday in US

Wait-and-see stand reigns amid caution over virus-led global slump, US-China tiff

It was rather quiet on the Singapore bourse - as was the case in many other Asian markets yesterday - with the key Straits Times Index (STI) finishing on a flat note at 2,511.21, up by 1.57 points or 0.06 per cent.

A wait-and-see stance was the dominant theme, even as investors breathed a sigh of relief that last Thursday's rout in United States tech stocks did not spill over to the following day, with Wall Street closing lower in an orderly fashion.

That was partly owing to the absence of untoward shocks in the American job data that was released on Friday.

The tight-range trading on the Singapore market comes ahead of the Labour Day holiday in the US markets on Monday there.

Key Asian markets put up a mixed showing yesterday. Japan was down 0.5 per cent and Hong Kong fell 0.4 per cent. China's Shanghai Composite lost 1.9 per cent while Malaysia closed 0.3 per cent lower.

But South Korea and Australia eked out gains of 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

Caution persisted in the air amid worries of a pandemic-led global economic gloom and escalating US-China rift.

Over the weekend, the US said it was considering cutting trade with China's largest chipmaker SMIC, threatening to escalate Washington's tech war against China.

In the commodities space, oil prices hit their lowest since July, after Saudi Arabia cut prices as the coronavirus continued to sap energy demand.

Later this week, Malaysia's Bank Negara, Bank of Canada and European Central Bank will hold policy meetings and are largely expected to keep rates steady.

Trading volume in the Singapore market totalled 1.32 billion shares worth $780.8 million, with 11 counters up and 15 down among the STI stocks.

Gains were led by OCBC as well as CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) and CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT), which added five index points to the STI.

CCT units ended the day higher, by 2.4 per cent to $1.69; CMT jumped 2.6 per cent to $1.98.

Last Friday, CMT and CCT announced deal sweeteners for their proposed merger with an extraordinary general meeting now fixed for Sept 29. Maybank Kim-Eng has a "buy" rating on CMT over improving sector fundamentals and undemanding valuations.

StarHub closed unchanged at $1.18. The telco and M1 were fined by the Infocomm Media Development Authority over disruptions to their broadband Internet services in April and May respectively.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2020, with the headline 'Traders take a 'rest' ahead of holiday in US'. Print Edition | Subscribe