Dec 27, 2013

    Markets yawn on a sleepy Boxing Day

    SINGAPORE shares inched a little higher yesterday in a quiet day of Asian trading, with several bourses closed for Christmas.

    The local benchmark Straits Times Index rose just 7.07 points, or 0.23 per cent, to close at 3,134.36.

    Some Asian bourses shrugged off a new record close on Wall Street on Tuesday, with Shanghai falling 1.58 per cent and Seoul slipping 0.11 per cent.

    Tokyo, however, advanced 1.03 per cent as the yen depreciated further, a sign that Japan exporters can look forward to an easier time selling their goods abroad.

    Markets in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand were closed.

    UBS analysts have predicted that developed markets will likely continue to lead stock-market returns next year.

    "This said, Asian valuations are undemanding, and we enter the new year with a preference for China. South Korea is also likely to outperform as exports play a more positive role in 2014," they wrote in a recent report.

    "Meanwhile, as the Federal Reserve begins to taper its asset-purchase programme in 2014, some Asian capital markets will likely be vulnerable to a repatriation of yield-seeking capital."

    These markets include India and Indonesia, the analysts said, which are suffering from current-account and trade deficits, as well as smaller South-east Asian markets.

    The top active at home yesterday was Charisma Energy, climbing 0.8 cent to 8.2 cents on a turnover of 650 million shares.

    Other penny stocks dominated the list of hotly traded stocks, with Albedo coming in next, rising 0.4 cent to 5.6 cents.

    Singapore Airlines fell three cents to $10.23. The carrier said yesterday that its joint venture with India's Tata Sons has been incorporated under the name Tata SIA Airlines.

    Sembcorp Industries gained two cents to $5.44. The firm said on Tuesday that it had achieved all the funding for an energy project in Britain.

    Advance SCT added 0.1 cent to 0.6 cent after saying on Tuesday that it is investing $100,000 to buy a 50 per cent stake in Everglory Cooling Systems, a Singapore-based company that is developing a high-technology copper-based heat exchanger.

    "The investment in a new copper product is part of the group's ongoing shift from being a metal recycler to becoming a leading copper-products manufacturer," Advance said in a statement.

    C&G Environmental Protection lost two cents to 33 cents. It said on Tuesday that it is selling a China-based unit for $385.4 million, to refocus on the expansion of its waste-to-energy business in South-east Asia.