Oil price rise sends energy stocks up
SINGAPORE shares ended a tad higher off their day-lows yesterday on gains in oil after data showed the biggest weekly drawdown in crude stocks in over three decades.
The Straits Times Index closed up 0.03 per cent or 0.83 point to 2,894.48, lifted by Singtel, banks and Keppel Corp.
The telco gained 0.7 per cent or three cents to $4.06 while UOB rose 0.5 per cent or 10 cents to $18.78. UOB KayHian, which maintained a buy call on Singtel, said it is the "least affected by a fourth mobile provider here as overseas businesses account for about 70 per cent of its bottom-line".
OCBC edged up 0.3 per cent or three cents to $8.87 and Keppel gained 1.5 per cent or eight cents to $5.49.
"Oil was the main story today," said remisier Desmond Leong. It was helped by China boosting its crude oil imports by 5.7 per cent last month from July, marking the first rise in nearly two years.
Oil's sharp gains followed a surprise draw of 12.1 million barrels from United States crude stocks last week, instead of a forecast gain of 200,000 barrels. That lifted local energy counters across the board.
Among the most active trades were Ezra Holdings, which surged nearly 35 per cent or 1.5 cents to 5.8 cents, with 182.1 million shares.
Rumours of a "favourable turn" in talks between AusGroup and its bondholders sent the Australia-based oilfield services provider surging 17 per cent or 0.7 cent to 4.8 cents, with 54.6 million traded.
AusGroup, which has a bond repayment of $110 million due next month, is pleading with bondholders for an extension on debt repayment.
Its noteholders are seeking a "small" early repayment to give their blessing to roll over this debt for another two years.
Ezion Holdings, which owns 17.83 per cent of Ausgroup, jumped 11.8 per cent or three cents to 28.5 cents while Vallianz was flat at 2.1 cents with 47.8 million shares traded.
The bounce in oil prices sent Rex International jumping 14.8 per cent or 0.8 cent to 6.2 cents and Charisma Energy rose 25 per cent or 0.2 cent to one cent.
Meanwhile, marina developer SUTL Enterprise, which gained 1.8 per cent or one cent to 57 cents, was queried by the Singapore Exchange over unusual price movement.