Aug 22, 2014

    Lack of leads keeps trading weak

    SINGAPORE shares again traded sideways yesterday, as the overnight release of minutes from a United States Federal Reserve meeting failed to pique investor appetite.

    A disappointing manufacturing report out of China, showing the Purchasing Managers Index at a three-month low last month, added to the gloom in the region.

    The local benchmark Straits Times Index rose just 0.44 points, or 0.01 per cent, to close at 3,324.09.

    Mr Martin Lakos, a Sydney-based division director at Macquarie Private Wealth, told Bloomberg: "There's no question the market was looking for something better, so that's disappointing on a one-month basis."

    Most Asian bourses ended in the red yesterday. Seoul dropped 1.38 per cent, Hong Kong lost 0.66 per cent, Shanghai slid 0.44 per cent, while Sydney ended flat. Tokyo bucked the trend, gaining 0.85 per cent.

    The Singapore Exchange issued a report yesterday noting that the five largest industrial stocks of the FTSE ST Mid Cap Index have generated an average total return of 8.2 per cent so far this year.

    But yesterday, four of the five lost ground and one ended flat.

    Yangzijiang Shipbuilding fell three cents to $1.155, Sats dropped two cents to $3.03, Singapore Post slipped two cents to $1.735, Neptune Orient Lines was flat at $1.02 and Venture Corporation declined two cents to $8.03.

    Elsewhere, Olam International fell five cents to $2.51, after announcing that Sanyo Foods, Japan's third-largest instant noodle maker, is taking a 25 per cent stake in its packaged food division for US$187.5 million (S$234 million).

    Starburst Holdings rose five cents to 69 cents after a CIMB Research report yesterday said it believes the firm's full-year earnings for the 2014 financial year could be double that of the previous year's.

    The company, which outfits firearm ranges, also has an order book that will likely remain strong over the next one or two years, the brokerage wrote.

    Centurion Corp gained two cents to 64 cents after DMG & Partners Research, in a note yesterday, maintained its "buy" call on the stock.

    It said the sell-off in the dormitory operator's shares has gone overboard.

    "As of now, Centurion's Singapore dormitories, Mandai and Toh Guan, are near full occupancy while Tuas is about 90 per cent filled," wrote analyst Jarick Seet. "We feel the selling has been overdone and the current price level represents good value for entry for potential investors."