Jul 15, 2015

    Penny plays dominate quiet session

    WITH the Greek situation on hold for now - at least until the country's Parliament sits today to decide whether to accept the austerity demanded by the country's creditors - trading in the Singapore market slipped back to a mixed and quiet session, focused mainly on penny stocks.

    The Straits Times Index initially rose sharply, possibly thanks to leftover momentum from last Friday and Monday's relief rallies, but gains were reversed in the afternoon as the index drifted to 3,316.5 for a net gain of 5.28 points on the day.

    Turnover, which has fluctuated around the $1 billion mark for the past week, amounted to a low 1.2 billion units. Excluding warrants, there were 222 rises versus 216 falls.

    Singtel was the biggest index mover, its 5-cent drop to $4.32 on volume of 16.8 million cutting around 5 points off the STI. DBS Bank provided the largest support with a 10-cent rise to $21.05, with 3.4 million done.

    Among the day's actives was petrochemical firm CEFC International, whose shares shot up 76.5 per cent on Monday, prompting a query from the Singapore Exchange.

    The company replied, drawing attention to its July 7 announcement entitled "Discussions on potential joint ventures", adding that it is also evaluating fund-raising options.

    However, it said these are very much still in the "exploration and preliminary stages" and may not materialise. The counter yesterday added 0.2 cent to 6.2 cents, on volume of 38.9 million.

    The actives list was headed by New Silkroutes Group, formerly known as Digiland International. The counter doubled from 0.1 cent to 0.2 cent, on volume of 118.5 million. Other actives included Ezra Holdings, IHC and Debao Property.

    Elsewhere in South-east Asia, stock markets rose yesterday as the Greek bailout deal continued to woo investors back to the market.

    Malaysian shares ended higher, with the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index adding 4.99 points to close at 1,721.1.

    But the Thai index snapped a three-day winning streak, due to weaknesses in banking shares ahead of earnings. Bangkok's SET index eased 0.15 per cent.

    Stocks in Indonesia gained a measly 0.2 per cent after the central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 7.5 per cent, as expected.

    Shanghai stocks ended 1.16 per cent lower in volatile trade yesterday, after surging about 13 per cent in the previous three sessions, while investors awaited the release of Chinese economic growth data.

    The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 45.9 points to 3,924.49. It fell as much as 2.89 per cent and rose up to 1.64 per cent.

    Hong Kong stocks also fell, ending three straight days of gains as many investors cautiously watched a slide in China's key indexes, and ignored firmer overseas markets following Greece's deal with creditors.

    The Hang Seng Index fell 0.4 per cent to end the day at 25,120.91 points.