Jun 25, 2014

    STI inches up amid 'dead' market

    THE Singapore market yesterday was even sleepier than on New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year's Eve - and those had only half a day of trading.

    The Straits Times Index (STI) pressed ahead by 4.63 points or 0.14 per cent to 3,262.03, led by SingTel, ComfortDelGro Corp and United Overseas Bank (UOB).

    But a clearer indication of just how dead the market was came from volume figures, with turnover at just $633.8 million. That was the lowest since Dec 26, when only $601.5 million worth of shares changed hands, with traders still on holiday on Boxing Day.

    The World Cup in Brazil has been proving to be a bigger draw than the stock market.

    With matches played in the dead of the night, Singapore time, investors have been staying up late - and missing the day's market action.

    The lack of interest in the market is also reflected in the narrow trading range of the STI this month. The index has moved by fewer than 10 points on 12 of the 17 trading sessions this month.

    A movement of 10 points is considered very small for a whole day's trading.

    SingTel rose three cents or 0.8 per cent to $3.83, ComfortDelGro was ahead by seven cents or 2.9 per cent, hitting $2.50, while UOB climbed nine cents or 0.4 per cent to $22.51.

    Olam International fell one cent or 0.4 per cent to $2.44.

    It said on Monday night that Japan's Mitsubishi Corp will invest US$64 million (S$80 million) for an 80 per cent stake in Olam Grains Australia.

    Olam Grains Australia is involved mainly in origination, trading, logistics and marketing activities. It has a 32.5 per cent stake in Newcastle Agri Terminal, a grain port in Australia.

    Olam will continue to hold the remaining 20 per cent of Olam Grains Australia, which is valued at US$80 million.

    "We view the deal positively, as it will enable Olam Grain Australia to leverage on growth opportunities in the Australian grains business," said DMG & Partners Research.

    "Lack of clarity on the strategic direction that the company could take, after Temasek became the single largest shareholder of Olam International, remains the biggest concern among investors," DMG added.

    NetResearch Asia said in a note that, given the low value of stocks traded, penny caps continued to head the actives list. Stocks in play yesterday included Innopac Holdings, Adventus Holdings and Transcu Group.