Nov 14, 2014

    Corporate earnings and news spur trading

    A RAFT of positive earnings results and corporate news helped to buoy the markets yesterday and snap a two-day losing streak.

    The Straits Times Index (STI) rose 21.2 points or 0.7 per cent to 3,304.93 on the improved sentiment.

    Around 1.5 billion shares worth $1.2 billion were traded, better than the 987.3 million shares worth $965.6 million that changed hands on Wednesday.

    Disappointing retail sales and factory output numbers from China failed to dampen the mood, with stocks staying in positive territory all day long.

    Banks again provided the impetus for the local market's direction, adding more than 11 points to the STI.

    United Overseas Bank gained 30 cents to $23.20, DBS rose 24 cents to $19.50 and OCBC was up six cents to $10.20.

    IG market strategist Ryan Huang also attributed the STI's good showing to resilient results from companies, which helped bring investors back to the market.

    He noted that telco SingTel's results were in line with expectations, while property developer City Developments (CDL) held up better than expected.

    "Generally, earnings across the board were quite good, so that drove the buying sentiment," added Mr Huang.

    SingTel rose five cents to $3.90 after reporting that second-quarter net profit rose 19 per cent to $1.04 billion. It added 4.3 points to the STI.

    CDL gained 17 cents to $9.53. It announced after markets closed on Wednesday that quarterly net profit was up 4.7 per cent to $127.2 million.

    The top volume counter was palm oil firm Golden Agri-Resources, with a hefty 188.3 million shares traded as it closed four cents lower at 47 cents.

    The firm reported an 86 per cent plunge in third-quarter net profit to US$4.4 million (S$5.7 million).

    Corporate news also contributed to the STI cracking the 3,300 psychological level, noted Mr Huang.

    "Olam has seen quite a rally over the past few days on news that there may be a possible deal, so there's a lot of buying ahead of the results when the company may give more details."

    The commodities firm jumped 16 cents or 7.1 per cent to $2.41 after it said earlier this week that it is in discussions with various parties about acquisitions, divestments and joint ventures.

    The company, which has risen 14 per cent this week, is expected to release quarterly results this morning.

    Water treatment firm United Envirotech also saw plenty of action, closing nine cents higher at $1.605, with 75.8 million shares traded.

    It announced on Wednesday that a consortium including China's biggest conglomerate, Citic, is taking a majority stake, offering $1.65 a share, a 9 per cent premium from its last transacted price of $1.515 last Friday.