Singapore market bucks regional trend, STI ends 2 points up

SGX Centre 1 at Shenton Way Road in the Raffles Place District.
SGX Centre 1 at Shenton Way Road in the Raffles Place District.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore stock market proved resilient on Friday, even as bloodletting continued to course through the region.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 1.67 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 2,539.95, turning the tables on its losses from mid-day trading.

But it was down 3.2 per cent for the shortened week.

"I don't think it was because we're strong, but it was more because the other markets are weaker," remisier Desmond Leong told The Straits Times, citing Japan in particular.

"We've been oversold for some time already. A lot of the selling has been done, so we're seeing less of it nowadays," he said, noting that the market has also taken its lead from the United States stock futures, which are up about 112 points.

"It's a consolation that we're holding the course near the current short-term support level of about 2,530."

Telco SingTel emerged among the biggest winners, rising four cents or 1.1 per cent to S$3.58. This was even as the group posted a 1.7 per cent drop in net profit to S$954 million for the third quarter before the markets opened, on the back of higher network and spectrum investments as well as currency conversion losses.

Ascendas Reit was up strongly as well, growing four cents or 1.7 per cent to S$2.35, while Sembcorp Industries advanced four cents or 1.7 per cent to S$2.39.

Local banks OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank, which have sustained losses through the week, finished on a slightly more positive note. OCBC inched up one cent or 0.1 per cent to S$7.46 and UOB added six cents or 0.3 per cent to S$17.56.

DBS Group Holdings, on the other hand, continued downhill, sliding 12 cents or 0.9 per cent to S$13.02.

Laggards included property group CapitaLand, whcih sank three cents or 1.1 per cent to S$2.82, and Global Logistic Properties, which shaved 1.5 cents or 0.9 per cent to S$1.595.

Technology firm The Stratech Group was the day's most active, with 70.6 million shares changing hands. The counter was flat at three cents.

A total of 900.7 million shares worth S$1.16 billion was traded across the bourse.

The STI's sturdy performance was only one of the few bright spots in a sea of gloom.

Tokyo led a fresh rout in the region as it tanked 4.8 per cent to mark a heavy 12 per cent loss for the week, while Hong Kong slid 1.2 per cent, Seoul fell 1.4 per cent and Sydney dropped 1.2 per cent.

Shanghai remained shut for a week-long holiday.

Wall Street struggled to keep afloat amid the global selling and lost 1.6 per cent on Thursday, amid growing fears that central banks are running out of ideas to support the ailing financial markets.

"The markets are clearly starting to price in a sharp slowdown in the world economy and even a recession in the United States," Mr Tsuyoshi Shimizu, chief strategist at Mizuho Asset Management, told Reuters.

"I do not expect a collapse or major financial crisis like the Lehman crisis but it will take some before market sentiment will improve."