Feb 14, 2014

    S'pore bourse stays on course as peers waver

    THE local stock market remained in the black yesterday, rising slightly even as regional peers headed south.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) added another 4.45 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 3,039.90, stretching its winning streak to six straight sessions.

    However, trading activity remained modest, with 1.8 billion shares worth $934.1 million changing hands.

    Investor sentiment across Asia was downbeat following Wall Street's overnight dip, with traders choosing to take profit after the recent gains.

    Japan shares shed 1.8 per cent, Hong Kong equities eased 0.5 per cent while Shanghai stocks slipped 0.55 per cent.

    Back home, 13 of the 30 STI component stocks went up, with the same number losing ground and four remaining unchanged.

    The gainers included Thai Beverage, which added two cents to 53 cents, and SembCorp Industries, which advanced nine cents to $5.44.

    Analysts said the Singapore bourse was able to buck the downbeat regional trend, thanks largely to index heavyweight SingTel's brighter quarterly numbers, which propelled the counter up six cents to $3.57. This was its biggest gain in over two months.

    OCBC Investment Research trimmed its target price from $3.81 to $3.74, "mainly weighed by the recent pullback in the market value of its listed associates". But the broker also upgraded its call from hold to buy, "from a valuation perspective".

    But there was no such cheer for Ocean Sky, which tumbled 7.1 cents, or 35.5 per cent, to 12.9 cents.

    Investors rushed for the exit after offshore marine group Ezion Holdings said it had scrapped plans to acquire the company, with the 157.9 million units done making it the second-most active counter yesterday.

    The day's most hotly traded stock was Albedo, which eased 0.3 cent to 5.6 cents with 164.4 million units done.

    Frasers Centrepoint was in the spotlight after announcing a dip in first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, closing unchanged at $1.41.

    CIMB analyst Donald Chua said: "The successful launch of a hospitality Reit could be a re-rating catalyst.

    "Even without the Reit, Frasers Centrepoint should be able to maintain its strong operational numbers, with the revitalisation of its property portfolio."

    The broker has an "add" call on the stock with a $2.06 price target.

    Singapore Airlines slipped 17 cents to $9.78 after posting strong gains in the earlier two sessions, as traders locked in gains following its recent resurgence.