Jun 24, 2015

    Markets gather pace as Greek talks progress

    MARKETS across the region continued to gather momentum yesterday as investors took heart from the constructive talks on Greek debt.

    Hopes that the interminable deadlock might finally be broken propelled Wall Street to close 0.58 per cent higher on Monday.

    Regional markets were supported by similar sentiment, with the Straits Times Index up 24.65 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 3,339.78.

    It was more robust elsewhere, with the Nikkei up 1.87 per cent. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index ended 2.19 per cent up after being closed for a holiday on Monday, while the Hang Seng Index added 0.93 per cent.

    Noble Group was among the most active counters here, with about 37.5 million shares changing hands as it added one cent to 69.5 cents.

    Remisier Desmond Leong said the counter "does seem to have bottomed out, at least for the near term".

    "Some buyers do come in for the technical rebound but it remains to be seen whether (the uptake) will be sustained going forward," he added.

    The most active stock was China-based property play Debao Property Development, which rose 0.3 cent to 6.9 cents on trade of 72.9 million shares.

    The top blue-chip gainers included Global Logistic Properties, up seven cents to $2.60, and Singapore Technologies Engineering, six cents up at $3.31.

    Meanwhile, rig-building giants Keppel Corporation and Sembcorp Marine were hit on re-emerging news of the Brazil bribe scandal.

    A Bloomberg report yesterday cited testimony released on Friday by a Brazilian court. This alleged that shipbuilders Keppel Fels, a Keppel Corp unit, and Jurong Shipyard, a subsidiary of SembMarine, were among a group of companies that paid bribes through intermediaries to win contracts for building deep-water drilling vessels.

    Keppel Corp shed one cent to end the day at $8.40, while SembMarine pared intra-day losses to close flat at $2.88.

    "While these allegations are not new and have been refuted by both Keppel and Sembcorp Marine, new revelations may come with the arrest of Marcelo Odebrecht, the biggest scalp so far in this brewing scandal," said CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo.

    "It may also be worth pointing out that neither Keppel Corp nor Sembcorp Marine has announced any major rig orders of significance in the year to date, even as we are about to head into the second half of this year."

    Both companies denied the allegations in February.