May 09, 2014

    STI lifted by China, US news

    THE Singapore market was higher yesterday, after positive Chinese trade data and an upbeat reading of the United States economy by the chair of the Federal Reserve.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) gained 11.26 points or 0.35 per cent to 3,247.69.

    Fed chairman Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that a rebound was under way in the world's largest economy. Faster growth is expected for the rest of the year, she added.

    Dr Yellen added that the Fed will continue to support the economy. However, she cautioned that readings on housing activity have been disappointing.

    Mr Desmond Chua, an analyst at CMC Markets, said: "Market sentiment and the broader-based US indexes were lifted by news that Russian President Vladimir Putin was prepared for fresh talks, and had pulled troops out of the Ukrainian border."

    Regional sentiment yesterday was also supported by official data out of China showing that exports and imports crept up last month, stabilising from a sharp decline in March.

    Asian markets were broadly higher, with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 up 0.9 per cent and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong ahead by 0.4 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.3 per cent.

    In Singapore, gainers on the STI included City Developments, ahead by 11 cents or 1 per cent to $10.89. The company released a statement yesterday, saying that there has been strong response to its Coco Palms condominium project ahead of the launch.

    The joint-venture partners for City Developments are Hong Leong Holdings and Hong Realty.

    The statement said the showflat preview has been successful: There were strong enquiries and more than 3,000 visitors went through the show flat in the first weekend.

    StarHub managed to hold flat at $4.17 despite reporting on Wednesday that net profit slid 7.7 per cent to $84.2 million for the three months to March 31, while revenue fell 1.5 per cent to $571.4 million.

    The firm blamed the first-quarter earnings fall on a one-off payment of taxes not provisioned for in 2012 and a lower grant from the Government for encouraging consumers to take up fibre broadband. There was also pain from a drop in broadband revenue and lower handset sales.

    OCBC Investment Research said StarHub's start to the financial year was "uninspiring".

    "We opt to keep our estimates unchanged for now, but we will be looking to trim them if the second-quarter results show no signs of recovering," said OCBC.

    It has a fair value of $3.81 and a "sell" call on StarHub.