Bulls And Bears

Mixed earnings from blue chips weigh on STI

But losses less than in recent days; regional markets regain optimism

Optimism returned to regional markets though the effect was mitigated in the local market by mixed earnings from index firms.

While the Straits Times Index (STI) failed to post gains, losses were less than in recent days, with the benchmark index finishing at 3,218.77, down 4.94 points, or 0.15 per cent, yesterday.

"A couple of mixed earnings from the Singapore blue chips had weighed on the broader market and the disappointment from Chinese data released this morning did little to help," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said of yesterday's session.

With most sectors continuing to trade lower, "a sense of caution remains in the local market", she said.

Elsewhere in the region, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea all ended higher. Investors in Asia had been more optimistic due to a positive showing by Wall Street on Tuesday and remarks made by the United States and China that helped ease trade worries.

The Shanghai Composite Index posted a 55.07-point, or 1.9 per cent, gain to close at 2,938.68, helped by a depreciating Chinese yuan and hope that Beijing would provide more economic stimulus following disappointing retail sales figures.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.05 billion securities, or 83 per cent of the daily average in the first four months of the year.

Total turnover came to $1.08 billion, 5 per cent more than the January-to-April daily average.

Advancers outpaced decliners 220 to 172. The benchmark index had 16 of the STI's 30 components trading in the red.

Among them was Singtel, which dropped two cents, or 0.6 per cent, to close at $3.13 on 18.6 million shares traded. The telco reported before the market opened that fourth-quarter profit rose 0.4 per cent to $773 million, but the bottom line for the full year was down 43 per cent, mainly due to an exceptional gain the previous year.

Among the big movers, Memtech International closed at $1.33, adding 24 cents, or 22.2 per cent, with a heavier-than-usual 4.1 million shares traded.

Its shares surged after the Chuang family, which controls the electronics components manufacturer, made a voluntary conditional offer of $1.35 for each share in a bid to delist the firm.

Penny stocks saw heavy activity. Chasen Holdings was the most traded, with 40.5 million shares changing hands. The logistics specialist advanced 0.6 cent, or 6.3 per cent, to close at 10.1 cents. Market watchers said the US-China trade spat could have had investors speculating that Chasen would benefit from firms needing to relocate manufacturing facilities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2019, with the headline 'Mixed earnings from blue chips weigh on STI'. Print Edition | Subscribe