Bulls And Bears

Trading volume robust on index rebalancing

Pedestrians are reflected on an electronics stock indicator at the window of a securities company in Tokyo, on June 3, 2019.
Pedestrians are reflected on an electronics stock indicator at the window of a securities company in Tokyo, on June 3, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

Mixed day for region as recent rally eases slightly; STI up 3.1% for the week

The rally triggered by signals that US interest rates are heading south and a possible thawing in the trade war eased off a little yesterday.

But the Straits Times Index (STI) still managed to add 6.89 points or 0.2 per cent to 3,321.40, leaving it up 98.77 points or 3.1 per cent for the week.

The STI spent most of yesterday's session hovering around Thursday's closing level before edging up towards the end. Market watchers attributed the performance to a combination of profit-taking and worries over US-Iran relations.

It was a mixed day for the region with Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea closing lower, while China and Malaysia extended their positive streak.

Trading volume here clocked in at a robust 1.77 billion shares worth $1.67 billion. Gainers pipped losers 222 to 200, with 14 of the STI's 30 components ending in the red.

The high activity was attributed to FTSE index rebalancing, which added more than 600 million to the trading volume.

Singapore Exchange market strategist Geoff Howie noted that index rebalancing "mostly impacted the stocks that had completed secondary fund-raisings, or generated more pronounced moves since the last rebalancing".

"For instance, Keppel Infrastructure Trust saw significant volumes at the close, and had issued approximately 455 million units back on April 15," he added.

The STI's weakest performer over the past three months, Hongkong Land, and Singtel, its strongest, recorded significant changes to volume due to the rebalancing. Hongkong Land fell 0.8 per cent to US$6.65 while Singtel dropped 0.3 per cent to $3.44.

While some investors turned to booking profits, prices mostly held up. "The current rally still has legs," one trader observed.

Oil prices continued to rise on tensions between the United States and Iran, giving a lift to smaller energy players like KrisEnergy, which added 11.4 per cent to 3.9 cents.

DBS equity research strategist Joanna Goh said: "Even as oil prices are near year's lows recently due to a re-escalation in the US-China trade war, there is scope for an up-move due to rising tensions in the Middle East."

Defensive picks mostly traded lower, a signal that risk-taking sentiment was still alive, albeit not as pronounced as earlier in the week. Among these, SBS Transit closed down 2.7 per cent to $3.94.

The prospect of lower borrowing costs and concerns over global growth saw gold prices hit near six-year highs, breaking the US$1,400 per ounce barrier in the process.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2019, with the headline 'Trading volume robust on index rebalancing'. Print Edition | Subscribe