S'pore share traders play waiting game

SIGN OF THE TIMES: A stock board displaying the Nikkei 225 Stock Average. Key regional markets mostly gained ground yesterday, with Japan up 0.94 per cent.


    Mar 19, 2014

    S'pore share traders play waiting game

    SINGAPORE shares endured a flat session yesterday, as investors searched for more clarity regarding rising tensions over Ukraine and the future of United States Federal Reserve tapering.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) crept up a mere 1.70 points to 3,093.84 with about 1.9 billion shares worth $897.2 million changing hands.

    "Traders are waiting for clearer signs to emerge regarding the Ukraine unrest and Fed meeting. There was some interest in penny stocks, but the broad market remained quiet," a broker said.

    Coutts global chief economist Mark McFarland noted that the Crimea crisis is having little impact on the global economy and markets.

    "What would cause us to turn more negative would be an escalation of the crisis that leads to a substantial interruption in gas supplies from Russia to Europe," he added.

    Another key event is the Fed meeting which started yesterday, which may give more clues on the pace of the removal of the massive bond-buying programme.

    Key regional markets mostly gained ground, with Japan up 0.94 per cent and Hong Kong 0.51 per cent higher.

    Here, 14 of the 30 STI component stocks ended up, with 15 losers and one unchanged.

    DBS Group Holdings was in the spotlight after the announcement of its acquisition of Societe Generale's Asian private banking arm on Monday. It finished seven cents lower at $15.84.

    CIMB, which has an "add" call and $20.28 price target, noted: "As DBS did not pay a high price, the acquisition should not create a share-price overhang, though it may not add to DBS' profits much in the near term."

    Olam International was still under the radar following Friday's unit buyout offer by Temasek Holdings at $2.23 apiece, closing a cent up at $2.22.

    OCBC Investment Research analyst Carey Wong noted: "While things are moving in the correct direction, the medium-term outlook for commodities, especially hard commodities, continues to remain quite challenging, in our view. We also do not expect to see a competing offer for Olam."

    Thai Beverage rose 1.5 cents to 62.5 cents, after analysts cited its strong fourth-quarter display despite an alcohol tax hike in Thailand which began in September.

    Credit Suisse noted: "The surprise in the fourth quarter was largely driven by a stronger spirits segment plus some beer profitability... Any continuation of strength in beer or the non-alcoholic segment can surprise."

    OUE Limited edged up a cent to $2.36, after announcing it was part of a consortium which clinched a preliminary licence to build a casino in South Korea.

    The day's most active counter was Digiland International, which closed flat at 0.1 cent with 257.8 million units traded.