Bulls And Bears

STI rises on trade deal nod, Tories' big win

Regional markets close higher across the board, with Hang Seng Index up 2.6%

Investors were handed a double dose of good news before they headed off for the weekend, with word that the United States has finalised terms for a "phase one" trade deal with China, including the suspension of tomorrow's tariff imposition, and the Conservative Party's commanding victory in Britain's general election.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) extended gains from Thursday to close the week at 3,214.05, breaching the 3,200-point resistance after a 19.38-point or 0.6 per cent jump.

On the week, the blue-chip index added 19.34 points or 0.6 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,194.71.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, benchmarks in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan were all decidedly higher to close the week out.

Of the lot, the Hang Seng Index performed the best, leaping 2.6 per cent to close at 27,687.76. The MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index added 1.2 per cent.

On the trade front, the elephant in the room was Beijing's silence.

Understandably, it has generated some worry over whether both parties will ultimately sign a deal. This, traders noted, seemed to cap gains as yesterday's session went on.

AxiTrader chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes said China's trade spokesmen "have been conspicuous by their absence, which has brought the trade deal euphoria to a halt, but we should expect trade deal ebullience to resume as soon as China gives (its) nod to the deal".

In Singapore, trading volume stood at 1.28 billion securities, 7 per cent over the daily average in the first 10 months of this year.

Meanwhile, total turnover clocked in at $1.39 billion, 30 per cent over the January-to-October daily average. Across the market, advancers trumped decliners 225 to 160. Eight of the benchmark's 30 counters ended in the red.

 
 

Investors continued to rotate out of real estate investment trusts (Reits) after the US central bank affirmed on Wednesday that it is likely to stand pat on interest rates for a year.

The iEdge S-Reit Index fell 17.83 points or 1.3 per cent to 1,406.48.

Among the STI's Reit counters, Ascendas Reit dropped eight cents or 2.7 per cent to $2.91 and CapitaLand Mall Trust fell four cents or 1.6 per cent to $2.42.

With trade-friendly developments the talk of the town, cyclical stocks were among the best performers on the day. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding advanced four cents or 3.7 per cent to $1.13, the highest closing price since the stock faced a heavy sell-off on Aug 8.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2019, with the headline 'STI rises on trade deal nod, Tories' big win'. Print Edition | Subscribe