Shares rise as Ukraine worries recede

FINDING A WAY OUT: United States Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left) meeting at the Russian Ambassador's residence in Paris on Wednesday. Investors hope that conflict in Ukraine might yet be avoided.


    Mar 07, 2014

    Shares rise as Ukraine worries recede

    SINGAPORE shares rose in relief as worries over the unrest in Ukraine retreated, with politicians meeting to find a way out of the stand-off.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index added 12.53 points, or 0.4 per cent, to finish at 3,129.17, staying in the black for the third straight day.

    News that United States Secretary of State John Kerry will continue to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov persuaded investors to cling to the hope that a conflict might yet be avoided.

    Fears that a war could break out had led to a knee-jerk reaction at the start of the week, causing markets worldwide to tumble.

    CMC Markets analyst Desmond Chua said broad-based gains were seen across Asia yesterday, as the relief rally took hold.

    "The Ukrainian crisis is on the backburner for now and markets are temporarily putting the fears of war behind them.

    "Shares have been beaten down, so some investors are coming back to the market," he said. He said there were selective buying opportunities on offer.

    Mr Chua noted that the buying sentiment had not fundamentally improved and the local market would likely remain cautious with the US non-farm payroll expected to be out later today.

    Bad weather had caused companies to add just 139,000 jobs in the private sector last month, below the median estimate of 155,000 more jobs touted in a poll by Bloomberg.

    Among the most active stocks was Genting Hong Kong. Its shares rose two US cents to 41.5 US cents as it resumed trading yesterday, following a trading halt on Wednesday.

    It called for a halt as it announced yesterday that it was selling a 3.7 per cent stake in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, a leading global cruise-line operator. It expects to make a gain of about US$155.8 million (S$197 million).

    The top volume counter was HanKore Environment, which closed up 0.7 cent to 12.9 cents with 278.2 million shares changing hands.

    Singapore Land, the subject of a takeover offer by UIC, gained 3 cents to $9.55. Its share price continued to trade above the cash offer of $9.40 as brokerage DMG said in a note that there could be further upside.

    "We think UIC's offer is unattractive as it priced SingLand at a hefty 35 per cent discount to its revised net asset value of $14.50," the DMG report said.

    DMG has given SingLand a "buy" call in the belief that UIC may raise its offer to bolster its chances of privatising SingLand successfully.