Jan 22, 2014

    Local bourse unmoved by Japan, China

    SINGAPORE shares were little changed yesterday, with few cues to follow as Wall Street was closed for a public holiday overnight.

    While the rest of Asia was excited about the start of a two-day Bank of Japan policy meeting and China's central bank injecting more money into the country's financial system, local punters were blase.

    The local benchmark Straits Times Index gained just 4.97 points, or 0.16 per cent, to close at 3,133.76.

    China's actions "will reduce the credit-crunch fears and assure funding continues to follow into the Chinese economy", said Mr Evan Lucas, a Melbourne-based market strategist at IG Markets, in an interview with Bloomberg.

    "This is further proof that the central bank is monitoring the situation daily and is unlikely to let the money markets get too far out of hand."

    Shanghai advanced 0.86 per cent while Tokyo rose 0.99 per cent, and Hong Kong gained 0.45 per cent.

    Telco stocks were among the blue-chip gainers at home, with SingTel advancing three cents to $3.52, StarHub climbing two cents to $4.22 and M1 rising 12 cents to $3.36.

    M1 reported on Monday that fourth-quarter net profit rose 7.1 per cent to $40.5 million, with a final dividend of 7.1 cents per share and a special dividend of another 7.1 cents a share to be paid out.

    Barclays Research said the special dividend helps to offset M1's weaker operations, but maintained its "neutral" call on the stock. "Broadband subscriber and revenue momentum are on the rise as well, but much of this is already reflected with valuations not cheap," noted analyst Anand Ramachandran yesterday.

    Property developers ended mostly in the red. CapitaLand slipped two cents to $2.89, City Developments lost two cents to $9.50 and CapitaMalls Asia fell 2.5 cents to $1.84.

    Keppel Land bucked the trend, adding four cents to $3.29.

    Keppel Reit gained half a cent to $1.16 after saying on Monday that its distributable income for the fourth quarter grew 5.9 per cent to $54.9 million from the preceding year.

    DMG & Partners Research maintained its "buy" call on the trust yesterday, saying in a note that Keppel Reit is its top pick among Singapore-listed real-estate investment trusts.

    "We like K-Reit's exposure to Grade-A offices in Singapore, at 88 per cent of its portfolio," wrote analyst George Koh, noting, too, that the trust does not face debt-refinancing risk until next year.