Bulls And Bears

STI ends slightly higher after slow trading start

Investors shrug off good US results but later step up to help market reverse losses

Robust corporate earnings in the United States left local investors unmoved for much of the day, but they later stepped up to help the market reverse Tuesday's losses.

The recovery lifted The Straits Times Index (STI) 0.27 per cent, or 8.96 points, to 3,362.43 on trade of 1.17 billion shares worth $1.08 billion. Gainers outnumbered losers 204 to 168.

FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed said the bull market may not last long, given China's stimulus reduction and the US Federal Reserve's changing course.

"I'm not saying that markets may not go higher from current levels... However, in my opinion, this is not the most-loved bull run," he said.

Gainers included China Everbright Water, which shot up 25.64 per cent to 49 cents on turnover of 36.2 million shares.

The firm launched its public offer in Hong Kong yesterday at between HK$2.99 and HK$4.35 a share.

ST Engineering was another winner, up 3.45 per cent to $3.90. It said yesterday that its US unit has won a US$745.9 million (S$1 billion) contract to build an icebreaker for the US Coast Guard.

The contract has options for two more ships, which could bring its total value to US$1.94 billion.

The firm said on Monday that its aerospace and electronics businesses landed new contracts in the first quarter worth about $2.1 billion.

United Industrial Corp was also up 2.89 per cent to $3.20 on the back of a strong first quarter that saw earnings rise 35 per cent.

But not all was well on the bourse.

Best World International slumped after activist short-seller Bonitas Research questioned the company's accounting and sales.

Trading was halted after the counter dropped as much as 11 per cent, prompting a query from the Singapore Exchange.

Another hot stock was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which Credit Suisse downgraded from "neutral" to "underperform", with a target price of $1.30. The average analyst target price is $1.58, said Bloomberg.

The stock dipped 2.52 per cent to $1.55 on turnover of 51.4 million.

Datapulse Technology lost ground despite announcing it will buy a 15 per cent stake in a Seoul hotel for 8.6 billion won (S$10.2 million) in a joint venture deal. The troubled firm's stock fell 3.85 per cent to 25 cents on a volume of 535,000 shares.

Asian markets were mixed again. Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 0.27 per cent and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.88 per cent, but Australia's ASX added 0.99 per cent to its highest close in more than a decade.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2019, with the headline 'STI ends slightly higher after slow trading start'. Print Edition | Subscribe