Bulls And Bears

STI rises amid strong economic data

Boost comes as MAS reaffirms growth would be at higher end of 2% to 3% range this year

Local shares finished on a high as the market toasted a week of strong economic data and buoyant earnings reports that turned more bears into bulls.

The Straits Times Index (STI) surged 30.19 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 3,386.44 - up 45.71 points, or 1.37 per cent, for the week and 17.55 per cent ahead for the year so far.

Yesterday's boost came as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) reaffirmed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's guidance that economic growth would come in at the higher end of the 2 per cent to 3 per cent range this year.

Job data out yesterday also reflected that unemployment had fallen between June and last month.

Growth in Singapore could moderate next year, the MAS added in its biannual macroeconomic review yesterday, but that has not dampened sentiment at all.

Regional bourses also marched higher after technology giants Google, Amazon and Intel delivered earnings surprises overnight in the United States. The Hang Seng gained 0.84 per cent while the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.24 per cent.

The STI was lifted mostly by bank shares, Singtel and Thai Beverage. OCBC Bank rose 23 cents, or 1.99 per cent, to $11.80 after lagging its two rivals in gains on Thursday.

Genting Singapore, Thursday's biggest blue-chip gainer, shed half a cent, or 0.4 per cent, to $1.245.

In the broader Singapore market, turnover reached $1.35 billion on a volume of 1.89 billion. Gainers outnumbered losers 236 to 202.

Disa, the digital safety solutions seller, was the third most active stock after Rowsley and Jiutian Chemical. Disa held its annual general meeting (AGM) yesterday and closed unchanged at 1.4 cents with 56.5 million shares traded.

Mr Nicolas Van Broekhoven, an insight provider on Smartkarma and one of about 50 who attended the AGM, called Disa a "story stock" with binary potential.

"Either Disa takes off in a big way, becomes the industry standard and the stock is very undervalued, or the technology does not catch on despite Walmart's support and the company is likely worth zero.

"2018 should be a defining year for Disa. The monthly sales updates coming as of January next year should really give investors a good overview of how fast Disa can start selling digital codes to large technology groups."

Also back in play this week was The Trendlines Group, which on Wednesday completed a share placement to investors, including Asdew Acquisitions and ICH Capital.

Trendlines surged 1.3 cents, or 8.18 per cent, to 17.2 cents yesterday on a volume of 28.6 million. In the last year, its average daily volume was just 1.3 million. The Israel-based start-up incubation business has been trading underwater since its listing in November 2015.

Artivision Technologies called for a trading halt yesterday pending an announcement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2017, with the headline 'STI rises amid strong economic data'. Print Edition | Subscribe