Jul 25, 2014

    Local stocks up on back of China data

    THINGS just keep looking better and better for the Singapore market, which yesterday powered ahead to its eighth straight session of gains.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 13.19 points or 0.39 per cent to 3,353.89 - its highest close since May 29 last year. The gauge of blue chip stocks has notched up several successive 14-month highs in its latest run.

    The benchmark has now gained 5.9 per cent for the year so far.

    This time round, the local market was buoyed by regional enthusiasm in the wake of upbeat manufacturing numbers from China.

    A preliminary gauge of mainland factory activity reached an 18-month high this month, according to numbers from HSBC Holdings and data company Markit.

    That drove the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong up 0.7 per cent while Shanghai shares rose 1.3 per cent. However, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 per cent.

    The gains in Asia have come alongside rises on Wall Street where investors focused on earnings of New York-listed firms that have largely beat estimates.

    At home, STI gainers included Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust which rose two cents or 0.9 per cent to $2.35.

    On Wednesday, Ascendas Reit posted a 2.5 per cent rise in distribution per unit to 3.64 cents for its first quarter ended June 30. Net property income was $116.3 million, up 7.7 per cent, while income available for distribution grew 2.8 per cent to $87.6 million.

    The Reit makes distributions semi-annually, so it will pay out its half-year distribution after its second quarter ends on Sept 30.

    OCBC Investment Research said the results were in line with its expectations.

    "We maintain 'buy' with an unchanged fair value of $2.45 on Ascendas Reit," it said.

    Other index gainers included Thai Beverage which added 1.5 cents or 2.4 per cent to close at 64 cents.

    Outside the STI, Sino Construction continued to be halted from trade.

    Yesterday morning it posted a response to queries raised by the Singapore Exchange, with respect to a recently-announced proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Jems Exploration.

    Australia-based Jems is undertaking a coal-development project in Queensland, Australia.

    Sino Construction reiterated that its proposed acquisition is subject to due diligence, shareholders' approval and all necessary third party consents.

    At 8pm last night, there was no announcement on when Sino Construction would resume trading.