Aug 28, 2014

    M&A chatter brings life to ST Index

    A FLURRY of local corporate announcements as well as upbeat economic data from the United States helped to breathe life into the Singapore market yesterday.

    The Straits Times Index (STI) gained 18.4 points or 0.6 per cent to 3,341.5, the most since Aug 15 when it added 19.9 points.

    There were 216 gainers to 182 losers, while 396 stocks were unchanged in the local market. Some 1.63 billion shares worth $904.4 million were traded.

    Speculation about potential merger and acquisition (M&A) deals awoke the market from its recent slumber. Shares have traded sideways for most of the past two weeks.

    OCBC and its insurance unit Great Eastern confirmed that they are in talks with Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's firm TCC on a possible sale of their stakes in United Engineers (UE).

    OCBC and Great Eastern also announced yesterday that they have entered into a six-week exclusive agreement with TCC on talks about the transaction.

    OCBC lost two cents to $10.01, Great Eastern gained three cents to $22.70, while UE added six cents to $2.82.

    UE also announced on Tuesday that it is disposing of its unit WBL Corporation's luxury car division for $455 million. The luxury car business imports and distributes brands such as Bentley, Jaguar and McLaren.

    Rubber firm Halcyon Agri Corp's shares went up by three cents to 84.5 cents on news that billionaire investor Sam Goi is set to be a shareholder.

    Mr Goi, known as the popiah king, is slated to buy 25 million new Halcyon Agri Corp shares, amounting to a 5.94 per cent stake, under a proposed placement that will cost $18.45 million.

    Chipmaker Stats ChipPAC's shares surged 5.5 cents or 9.1 per cent to 66 cents, prompting a query from regulator Singapore Exchange.

    The firm had yet to respond as of 7.30pm.

    Jaya was the top active counter, rising 0.1 cent to 6.3 cents on a turnover of 123.5 million shares.

    Better-than-expected US economic data, with sales of durable goods spiking 22.6 per cent and consumer confidence staying at a high 92.4 points, also lent support to stocks here and around the region.

    Tokyo rose 0.1 per cent, Seoul gained 0.3 per cent, Shanghai increased 0.1 per cent and Sydney added 0.2 per cent.

    Hong Kong bucked the trend, dropping 0.6 per cent after reaching a six-year high on Monday.