Bulls And Bears

Cautious day of trading for Asian markets

Investors take stock of US-China trade talks, Brexit decision, Fed meet, China data

Asian markets kicked off the week with a day of cautious trading as investors braced themselves for a busy week, with key events such as US-China trade talks, the Brexit "B" plan decision and the Federal Reserve's policy meeting on the cards.

Weak Chinese industrial profit figures released yesterday also weighed on Asian markets.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) spent much of yesterday's trading session in the black before ending the day down 2.75 points or 0.1 per cent to 3,199.50.

CMC market strategist Margaret Yang said: "The resumption of the US Federal government on Friday after a one-month shutdown catalysed a mild rebound in Asian equities yesterday morning, but positive sentiment quickly faded away as scepticism surrounding upcoming trade talks took control over investors' mind."

Ten of the 30 STI constituents ended the day in the red. Turnover on the bourse stood at roughly 1.32 billion securities worth $822.8 million, or an average unit price of $0.62 per security. Decliners outnumbered advancers 198 to 163.

Oil and gas firm Rex International, which announced a deal to divest its interests in two Norwegian assets through its 90 per cent-owned subsidiary Lime Petroleum was the most actively traded stock.

The counter added $0.013 or 16.1 per cent to $0.094 with 168.8 million shares changing hands.

Other actively traded stocks included Imperium Crown and Spackman Entertainment.

Much attention was on Catalist-listed Y Ventures as analysts at DBS Equity Research cut their earnings estimates for the e-commerce firm. They have suspended coverage on the stock as accounting errors surfaced from its latest financial statements. The stock closed $0.019 or 15.8 per cent down at $0.101.

Against the backdrop of geopolitical uncertainties, defensive counters were the best performers on Singapore's blue-chip index.

Gaming stalwart Genting Singapore was the biggest gainer on the index in percentage terms, with the counter adding $0.02 or 1.9 per cent to close at $1.08. With a turnover of 23.9 million shares, it was also the most active index stock of the day. Food and beverage player ThaiBev also fared well, closing 1.4 per cent higher at $0.75 on a turnover of 17.4 million shares.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Japan, mainland China, South Korea and Malaysia ended the day lower while Hong Kong notched a modest gain. Japan's Nikkei 225 saw the biggest shift, dropping 124.56 points, or 0.6 per cent, to close at 20,649.00.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 29, 2019, with the headline 'Cautious day of trading for Asian markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe