Bulls And Bears

Wall Street helps lift regional bourses

Asian markets close out October on positive note after grim month for stocks

It has been a grim month but at least local shares and those across the region managed to close out October on a positive note.

The cue came from Wall Street overnight, which rose on positive earnings reports, easing fears that higher interest rates might hinder corporate investment.

IG market analyst Pan Jingyi said: "Both US earnings and President Donald Trump's comments on trade with China had been perceived as positive on Tuesday, giving stocks a short-term boost."

They needed it after what has been the worst month for global markets in over six years.

There are still concerns, however, with data yesterday showing China's manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace in over two years last month, although that did little to dampen investors' mood yesterday.

Led by the Nikkei's 2.16 per cent gain, shares in South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia and Shanghai all closed higher.

Singapore sang the same tune, with the Straits Times Index (STI) up 52.35 points, or 1.76 per cent, to 3,018.80, with only two of the 30 constituents falling.

Turnover was 2.27 billion shares worth $1.48 billion as gainers outnumbered losers 259 to 151.

CMC market analyst Margaret Yang said: "The Singapore market is riding strong tailwinds alongside a broad rebound in Asia markets, with trading volume on the Singapore Exchange securities market hitting 2.27 billion - higher than the daily average volume of the past few weeks."

Genting Singapore was the most active, rising 2.3 per cent to 88 cents on trade of 52.9 million shares.

The STI's biggest gainer - contract manufacturer Venture Corp - pared losses to close up 4.6 per cent at $15.32.

Positive third-quarter earnings posted on Tuesday after markets closed helped tech solutions provider AEM Holdings add 6 per cent to 80 cents.

CGS-CIMB analyst William Tng upgraded his call on AEM from "reduce" to "hold" as its expected slowdown next year has been priced in.

Among the banks, DBS closed 2.9 per cent higher at $23.46, UOB added 1.6 per cent to $24.38 while OCBC gained 2.3 per cent to $10.74.

"Event risks are abundant for markets going into November, where items including the Fed meeting and the convening of US and China (presidential meeting) could shed light on the two key issues on hand - rising interest rate trajectory and trade tensions," Ms Pan said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2018, with the headline 'Wall Street helps lift regional bourses'. Print Edition | Subscribe