Dec 24, 2013

    Local bourse gets some Xmas cheer

    SINGAPORE shares continued their newfound winning streak on the back of data showing that the United States grew a faster-than-expected 4.1 per cent in the third quarter.

    There was more Christmas cheer when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its outlook for the world's largest economy.

    The brighter mood sent Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index up 21.74 points, or 0.7 per cent, to close at 3,116.22.

    Hong Kong gained 0.48 per cent, Shanghai added 0.24 per cent, Sydney climbed 0.51 per cent and Seoul rose 0.68 per cent. Tokyo was closed for a public holiday.

    "The economic recovery in the US is at a level we haven't seen in a long time, and the IMF's improved outlook on the world's biggest economy is boosting markets," said Mr Heo Pil Seok, chief executive of Midas International Asset Management in Seoul.

    DMG & Partners Research said in a note yesterday that, while Singapore shares seemed to have lost their shine over the past few years, the new year will likely be an exciting one for the market as valuations are inexpensive.

    "Compared to the US and Asean markets, the country's stock market was the worst-performing by a mile over the last three years. However, things are about to change next year as we expect Singapore to make a comeback," the brokerage wrote.

    CapitaLand gained two cents to $2.98, while Ascott Real Estate Investment Trust slipped half a cent to $1.185.

    Ascott announced yesterday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire New Cairnhill Serviced Residence in Singapore.

    Olam International added 1.5 cents to $1.51. It said yesterday that it is selling a stake of up to 14.99 per cent in Open Country Dairy in New Zealand to Talley's Group for up to NZ$46.5 million (S$48 million).

    Olam currently has a 24.99 per cent stake in Open Country Dairy, while Talley has 55.54 per cent.

    Swissco Holdings dropped 1.5 cents to 36 cents. The firm said on Friday that it had secured three charter contracts, worth $15.2 million in total, for its offshore-support vessels.

    Lian Beng Group was flat at 52.5 cents. The firm said yesterday that it has completed its acquisition of Associated KHL Industries, an investment-holding company that owns a property at 2 Penjuru Close.

    The property firm said last week that it was planning to buy Associated KHL at close to $4 million, as owning the Penjuru Close property would give it more space for storage, and to expand its construction and engineering works and services.