S'pore bourse rebounds on bargain hunting
DEFYING negative leads from Wall Street and most of Asia, Singapore shares rebounded yesterday as bargain hunters snapped up undervalued blue chips after Tuesday's sell-off.
The benchmark Straits Times Index closed 9.09 points higher at 3,349.84, with 1.29 billion shares worth $1.41 billion traded.
Investors buying on price dips helped Singtel and the banking counters rebound, although upside was capped by a drop in the shares of two Jardine companies and Hongkong Land.
Singtel was the most actively traded counter with 77.5 million shares changing hands, the highest volume in more than 21/2 years.
The telco rebounded strongly to $4.07, up nine cents or 2.3 per cent.
Jardine Matheson slid 0.6 per cent or 38 US cents (51 Singapore cents) to US$60.05; Jardine Strategic lost 0.7 per cent or 23 US cents to US$32.33 while Hongkong Land lost 0.7 per cent or six cents to $8.68.
The Singapore bourse is expected to trade between 3,350 and 3,400, ahead of the closely watched American non-farm payrolls report for last month, out tomorrow, which market participants hope will shed light on when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates, Howie Lee of Phillip Futures said.
"Whether the buying follows through over the next few days remains to be seen," he said.
"The market has strong support at 3,350; failing which, the next support would be 3,300."
A Bloomberg survey of economists pegs non-farm payrolls at 228,000, following 223,000 jobs added to the US economy in April.
"If the numbers come out between 200,000 and 250,000, it should be okay. If it's a bigger number like 250,000 and above, then optimism over United States economic health may outweigh jitters over the rate hike. But if it's a big miss, then the rate hike may not happen so soon," Mr Lee said.
Recent data has pointed to a US economic slowdown in the first few months of the year, leading many investors to push back their timeframe for when the Fed will begin raising interest rates.
Meanwhile, DBS Group Holdings jumped 1.3 per cent after announcing it has won regulatory approval to carry out banking activities in Australia, expanding the Singapore bank's presence to 18 markets globally.
The bank, which gained 26 cents to $20.11, said the licence allows it to conduct institutional banking activities.
It said that the bank's first branch in Sydney will start operations later this month.
Among South-east Asian nations, Singapore is Australia's largest trade and investment partner, with the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement in force since 2003.
Noble Group extended losses for a third day, falling by 3.4 per cent, or 2.5 cents to 72 cents, with 63 million shares traded.