Trading week starts slow with 0.12% uptick on the STI

The SGX Centre at Shenton Way.
The SGX Centre at Shenton Way.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Local equities were once more up on Monday (Nov 20), after getting a boost from export figures last Friday.

Good news also came over the weekend, as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told the biennial People's Action Party convention on Sunday that Singapore's economy could grow by more than 3 per cent this year.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) ticked up by 4.21 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 3,386.59.

It was a hopeful - if slow - start to a busy week, with growth, inflation and factory numbers for Singapore due in the days ahead.

But the relief was uneven, as losers still outnumbered gainers, 150 to 279.

Singapore Airlines, which last week turned in its operating results for October, added 14 cents, or 1.33 per cent, to $10.68.

OCBC Investment Research noted that the carrier has seen "solid" improvement in its passenger load factor - but cautioned that yields remain under pressure, with competition from Gulf and Chinese airlines set to heat up.

Meanwhile, airport ground handling service provider Sats put on three cents, or 0.59 per cent, to $5.14.

Other gainers included Jardine Cycle & Carriage - up by 17 cents, or 0.43 per cent, to $39.42 after increasing its stake in Vietnam's Vinamilk.

CapitaLand Commercial Trust finished up by six cents, or 3.24 per cent, to $1.91.

Still, a slew of recent deals elsewhere failed to land with a sizzle.

Developer Oxley Holdings - fresh from picking up the Mayfair Gardens residential site at a 21 per cent premium over the asking price - shed one cent, or 1.49 per cent, to 66 cents.

DBS analysts wrote in a report out on Monday: "We are already numb on newsflow of developers' continued hunger for land, which does not seem to abate even with the Government's recent effort to manage the enthusiasm seen in recent collective sale tenders."

But they added: "The new project might attract a high level of interest if Oxley is able to launch the new project at a price that is relevant to market conditions at that time."

Fellow real estate firm Roxy-Pacific Holdings, which has taken a stake in a joint venture to buy a Melbourne office building, lost one cent, or 1.85 per cent, to 53 cents.

Spackman Entertainment Group, which has been churning out updates on its investments in the South Korean film industry, closed lower by 0.3 cent, or 2.66 per cent, at 11 cents.

Electronic waste management company Enviro-Hub Holdings ended lower by 0.1 cent, or 2.04 per cent, at 4.8 cents.

The company last week reached an agreement to sell office and retail building PoMo, in Selegie Road, for $342 million - with the net proceeds going mainly towards settling bank borrowings and general working capital.

Private education provider Raffles Education Corporation - caught in a tussle between tycoon and long-time shareholder Oei Hong Leong and founding chief executive Chew Hua Seng - fell again, losing one cent, or 3.45 per cent, to 28 cents.

Besides stocks' mixed performance on the Singapore market, there was uncertainty around the globe as well.

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to form a three-way coalition government after the Free Democratic Party pulled out of talks, sending the euro sliding.

Traders' flocking to the safe-haven yen has put a crimp on Japanese exporters' prospects, with the Nikkei dipping by 0.6 per cent.