Bulls And Bears

Wall Street high buoys Asian markets

But all eyes still on stimulus cuts by US and Europe, with no big regional data releases

A record close on Wall Street fuelled by strong corporate earnings helped drive most Asian bourses into positive territory yesterday.

The local benchmark Straits Times Index ended the day 9.21 points or 0.28 per cent higher at 3,343.88.

While the mood was buoyant, it was a quiet day for Asia with no major economic data releases. So, all eyes were on developments abroad, especially the ongoing stimulus reduction by the United States Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB).

The ECB is expected to announce today that it will cut down on its monthly bond buying. However, analysts were hesitant to say whether this would signal an end to the global equity rally.

"Calling the end of this market at the moment is very, very tricky because interest rates are going to remain low, (and) earnings are OK," said Mr Neil Dwane, a global strategist at Allianz Global Investors, in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

"We are seeing good economic performance out of Europe, but all the equity markets now need earnings to rise."

Hong Kong gained 0.53 per cent, Shanghai rose 0.26 per cent, Sydney added 0.14 per cent and Seoul edged up 0.08 per cent.

Tokyo stocks, however, dipped 0.45 per cent as profit-taking took over yesterday after a 16-day winning streak that took the Nikkei 225 to its highest level since July 1996.

Singapore property developer Wing Tai Holdings edged up two cents to $2.35 yesterday after it posted a 676.4 per cent jump in first-quarter net profit to $8.2 million from the same period a year earlier.

OCBC Investment Research maintained its "buy" call yesterday.

"We now forecast Singapore home prices to appreciate 1 per cent in 2017 and 3 to 8 per cent in 2018 and, given the group's ample dry powder, believe that Wing Tai is well positioned to benefit from the turnaround in the domestic housing sector," wrote analyst Eli Lee.

Other developers were mixed. Wheelock Properties dropped two cents to $2.02, CapitaLand gained four cents to $3.72 and City Developments slipped a cent to $12.67.

Real estate investment trusts have also been hotly traded amid the earnings season.

Mapletree Logistics Trust gained 3.5 cents to $1.29, after posting earlier this week a distribution per unit (DPU) of 1.887 cents for the three months to Sept 30, up 1.5 per cent from a year earlier.

Ascott Residence Trust fell a cent to $1.21, after saying on Tuesday that DPU for the third quarter fell 28 per cent year on year to 1.69 cents, due in part to an enlarged unit base from a rights issue which took place earlier this year.

First Reit rose 2.5 cents to $1.405, as DPU for the third quarter rose 0.9 per cent from the same period a year ago to 2.14 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2017, with the headline 'Wall Street high buoys Asian markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe