Limited gains for STI amid profit-taking
PROFIT-TAKING capped gains amid investor uncertainty over China's growth prospects after soft manufacturing data was released yesterday.
The hesitant mood left the benchmark Straits Times Index up 6.51 points at 3,502.75, with 1.56 billion shares worth $1.15 billion changing hands.
Punters homed in on China-related property counters CapitaLand, Yanlord and Wing Tai, betting that more economic stimulus is on the cards from China's central bank.
CapitaLand gained 0.3 per cent or one cent to $3.67, with 15.3 million shares changing hands; Yanlord Land jumped 9.1 per cent or 9.5 cents to $1.14, with 12 million shares traded, and Wing Tai Holdings rose 0.8 per cent or 1.5 cents to $2, with 2.2 million shares changing hands.
But Sino Construction slipped 4.7 per cent or 0.2 cent to 4.1 cents, with 64.7 million shares traded.
"People are betting on another round of interest-rate cuts from the People's Bank of China, which should be a relief for Chinese developers and buyers," remisier Alvin Yong said.
Shanghai shares added 0.4 per cent after falling as much as 0.9 per cent. The gain came despite the HSBC China manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) dipping from 49.6 in March to 49.2 this month.
The data underscores an economic slowdown that has prompted policymakers to cut banks' reserve requirements by the most since 2008.
Elsewhere in the region, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index in Hong Kong sank 1.3 per cent, while the Hang Seng Index itself slid 0.4 per cent.
Japan's Nikkei advanced 0.27 per cent after the country's manufacturing PMI for this month fell to 49.7 from 50.3 in March, fuelling speculation that further easing will be needed from the central bank. South Korea's Kospi index climbed 1.4 per cent.
Shares of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) fell 0.1 per cent or one cent to $8.51 with 6.1 million shares traded. Profit-takers jumped in after the bourse operator reported strong third-quarter earnings yesterday.
The lion's share of its robust derivatives business came from a whopping 165 per cent year-on-year increase in trading volume on the FTSE China A50 Index futures.
But investors are concerned over rival bourses introducing similar derivatives futures and still-stagnant domestic share trading volumes.
These are "issues the next chief executive will have to deal with", CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo said.
DBS Group Research maintained a "hold" call on SGX, citing its robust derivatives market and possible links to other bourses that could spur trading volumes.