May 15, 2014

    STI bounces back from one-month low

    SINGAPORE shares rallied yesterday from a one-month low, propped up by fresh buying interest in blue-chip stocks, including index heavyweights.

    The Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 36.66 points, or 1.14 per cent, to 3,259.09, more than reversing Monday's losses of 0.9 per cent. Some 1.7 billion shares worth $1.4 billion were traded.

    A broker said: "There was some buying interest in the bank and Jardine stocks today, but the overall mood is still quiet. I think people are staying away in May."

    The positive mood here was also spurred by the generally buoyant sentiment in the region, with Hong Kong stocks gaining 1.03 per cent and South Korean shares adding 1.41 per cent.

    But Japan inched 0.14 per cent lower and Australia was flat.

    Market experts say an upbeat opening for Europe and the prospect of further fresh peaks for United States stocks kept Asian bourses buoyant.

    Here, 23 of the 30 STI component counters ended higher, with two losers and five unchanged.

    All three Jardine stocks advanced, with Jardine Cycle & Carriage up $1.72 to $45.70, Jardine Matheson US$1.42 (S$1.77) in front at US$61.42 and Jardine Strategic 74 US cents higher at US$34.84.

    It was also a good outing for index heavyweight SingTel, which added seven cents to $3.84.

    The three banks finished mostly higher, with DBS Group Holdings up 16 cents to $16.81, United Overseas Bank adding 30 cents to $22.30 and OCBC flat at $9.69.

    ComfortDelGro shares hit a seven-year peak on better-than- expected first-quarter earnings and hopes of favourable policy changes, closing nine cents up at $2.21.

    OCBC Investment Research, which kept its "buy" call with a target price of $2.30, said the group faces robust growth in its overseas business despite challenges in its local operations.

    The broker noted that the firm's management did not divulge details on probable policy changes by the Singapore Government, but hinted that more details on the new bus operating model framework could be announced during the next parliamentary session on Friday.

    It added: "Any measures which would enhance the sustainability of the transport sector would be a major catalyst to both ComfortDelGro and SMRT."

    Hotel Properties surged 26 cents, or 7.3 per cent, to $3.84 in the early minutes before trading was halted. HPL founder Ong Beng Seng and Wheelock Properties, who are tying up to buy out the hotel firm, have raised their offer to $4 a share from $3.50.

    The most active stock was HanKore Environment, which finished 0.1 cent higher at 9.6 cents, with 320.2 million units done.