Apr 09, 2015

    S'pore bourse down as China markets shine

    THE local bourse lost some momentum yesterday after hitting a fresh 12-month high on Tuesday.

    Analysts believe the relative quiet on the market could be due to a flow of capital into the bullish Chinese markets.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 4.94 points or 0.14 per cent lower at 3,460.68.

    "Overall activity on the blue chips were quiet, due partly to the money flowing to Shanghai and Hong Kong, so there's not enough push for STI after Tuesday's high," remisier Desmond Leong said.

    Shanghai rose 0.84 per cent to hit a new seven-year high, while Hong Kong was up 3.8 per cent - the biggest gain in over three years - boosted by a record-high volume of transactions through its Stock Connect platform with Shanghai.

    "This week, we'll continue to see STI testing the resistance level of 3,450-60 before a meaningful breakthrough can happen. Meanwhile, penny stocks have been the centre of attention for the past two weeks, as they offer investors with very good value now, after hitting their recent lows," Mr Leong added.

    The FTSE Catalist Index surged 9.85 per cent to 723.99 yesterday, after hitting a 52-week low on March 19. The FTSE Small Cap Index rose 3.78 per cent in the same period to 489.81.

    The best-performing mid caps yesterday were China-related plays including SIIC Environment, which jumped 10.53 per cent to close at 18.9 cents, and China Everbright, which added 6.42 per cent to 99.5 cents.

    IPC Corporation, which received a takeover bid by tycoon Oei Hong Leong last week, has been dropping since reaching a high at 20 cents on April 2, closing 0.4 cent or 2.09 per cent lower at 18.7 cents yesterday.

    The top STI gainers yesterday were ComfortDelGro and Sembcorp Industries. ComfortDelGro rose five cents or 1.73 per cent to $2.94, as investors came back to the counter after it dipped to a recent low of $2.86 last week.

    Sembcorp Industries closed six cents or 1.38 per cent up at $4.42, and energy-related play Keppel Corp rose seven cents or 0.77 per cent to $9.15. The gains came after Brent crude oil futures settled 1.69 per cent higher at US$59.10 overnight.

    Banking stocks had another good run, with OCBC Bank rising three cents or 0.28 per cent to $10.68, a new full-year high. DBS Group Holdings gained 15 cents or 0.74 per cent to $20.47, while United Overseas Bank added four cents or 0.17 per cent to $23.47.

    On the other end of the ledger, Noble dipped 2.5 cents or 2.67 per cent to 91 cents. The counter has been fluctuating since February, when Iceberg Research started launching reports questioning the commodity firm's accounting and governance practices.

    Singtel dropped four cents or 0.9 per cent to $4.38 yesterday, despite its announcement that it will acquire a 98 per cent stake in United States-based cyber-security firm Trustwave.