Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares stop slide but down 1.1% for week

Investors remain cautious as US-China trade spat weighs down sentiment

The local market managed to reverse mid-session losses to close higher yesterday. But investors continued to tread choppy waters with caution, with sentiment still weighed down by the US-China trade spat.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,169.89, up 9.17 points or 0.3 per cent.

"The local benchmark was shrouded in the state of pressure from the US-China trade conflict into Friday morning, before finding some buying interest ahead of the 3,150 support level," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi observed.

For the week, the benchmark index fell 35.57 points, or 1.1 per cent, from last Friday's close of 3,205.46.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea closed lower, as did Australia. Hong Kong gained while China closed flat on bargain hunting, recovering from Thursday's sell-off.

In Singapore, trading clocked in at 1.34 billion securities, or 6 per cent over the daily average in the first four months of 2019. Total turnover came to $977.2 million, 95 per cent of the January-to-April daily average.

Across the market, advancers beat decliners 214 to 145. The benchmark index saw eight of the STI's 30 components trading in the red.

The local banking trio were in the black.

DBS Group Holdings closed one tick up at $25.20, OCBC Bank edged up one cent, or 0.1 per cent, to $11.01 and United Overseas Bank built on Thursday's gains to end at $24.64, up six cents, or 0.2 per cent.

National carrier Singapore Airlines bounced off a 10-year low to close at $9.17, adding four cents or 0.4 per cent.

Tech stocks, which have flip-flopped with market sentiment surrounding US-China trade relations, saw some reprieve yesterday.

AEM Holdings advanced three cents, or 3.5 per cent, to 90 cents, Venture Corp gained 12 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $15.09, and UMS Holdings finished one cent, or 1.7 per cent, higher at 59.5 cents.

Investors in the local market pivoted towards shoring up more defensive and high-dividend-yield plays yesterday. This saw most real estate investment trusts (Reits) trade higher.

Ascendas Reit was up two cents, or 0.68 per cent, to $2.95 and CapitaLand Mall Trust finished five cents, or 2.1 per cent, higher at $2.44.

"With the lack of positive news, the rebound in Reits may have been largely technical. Bargain hunting is also not ruled out amid the lack of clarity as to where the US-China trade impasse is headed," said IG's Ms Pan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore shares stop slide but down 1.1% for week'. Print Edition | Subscribe