Dec 31, 2013

    S'pore bourse edges up for a 7th session

    TRADING volumes remained weak yesterday, but the local market still managed to extend its winning streak to a seventh session.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index inched ahead by 3.53 points or 0.11 per cent to 3,153.29.

    The index is edging closer to last year's close of 3,167.08 points and is now only 13.79 points away from breaking even for the year.

    In a sleepy session, only three of the STI's 30 stocks moved more than 1 per cent in either direction.

    Beer and whisky company Thai Beverage rose one cent or 1.9 per cent to 54 cents.

    Regional mall developer CapitaMalls Asia advanced two cents or 1 per cent to $1.965, while CapitaMall Trust, a real-estate investment trust (Reit) holding shopping centres, fell two cents or 1 per cent to $1.89.

    CapitaMall Trust is the only Reit to be included in the STI, but many other such vehicles were also weaker.

    CapitaCommercial Trust fell one cent or 0.7 per cent to to $1.425, while Ascendas Reit slipped one cent or 0.45 per cent to $2.20. The FTSE ST Reit Index was behind by 0.19 per cent.

    The United States Federal Reserve this month announced a reduction in its money-printing programme, the first concrete step to suggest that five years of easy money is coming to an end.

    Analysts say that this move - plus the eventual rise in interest rates - will affect stocks such as Reits, which are very sensitive to interest rates.

    Offshore support-vessel builder Nam Cheong jumped 2.5 cents or 8.6 per cent to 31.5 cents.

    "We anticipate Nam Cheong announcing a series of orders to close off financial year 2013," said DMG & Partners Research in a note yesterday morning.

    "The last platform supply vessel for 2013 delivery should be sold, together with some vessels for 2014 delivery, if its pattern of selling vessels in batches holds. This will bring 2013 vessel sales to more than or equal to 22, exceeding financial year 2012's record of 21."

    DMG has a "buy" call on Nam Cheong. It raised the target price to 45 cents, from 41 cents previously.

    After markets closed, Nam Cheong said it has won US$66 million (S$84 million) of deals for four vessels. The total sales of 24 vessels this year surpassed the previous record of 21 vessels last year.

    Nam Cheong had said last month that it was "on track to surpassing" last year's record.

    Across the market, 2.78 billion shares changed hands, but they were worth only $669 million.

    The actives list was topped by recent punter's favourite, Charisma Energy Services. Albedo, another popular stock for day traders, made No. 2.