Sep 04, 2015

    STI rebounds despite recession talk

    WITH Wall Street having rebounded overnight and Shanghai markets shut for a holiday, Singapore stocks enjoyed a respite from recent sell-offs to end almost 1 per cent higher yesterday.

    Shares in New York rose almost 2 per cent on Wednesday on bargain-hunting, despite persistent concerns over slowing global growth.

    Similarly in Singapore, economists are talking about a possible looming technical recession, after data released on Wednesday showed that factory activity here continued to contract last month.

    DBS Group Research issued this further warning in a note yesterday: "With the likelihood that the economy could already be in a technical recession, risk is rising that full-year growth could fall short of the official forecast range of 2 to 2.5 per cent."

    Yet the local benchmark Straits Times Index bounced a healthy 28.3 points, or 0.98 per cent, to close at 2,906.43.

    Other regional markets were mixed. Tokyo rose for the first time in four days, gaining 0.7 per cent, while Seoul ended flat and Sydney dropped 1.4 per cent. Hong Kong was closed.

    "One modest positive today is the fact that China is offline for its Victory Day commemorations," said Chris Weston, a Melbourne-based chief markets strategist at IG, in an interview with Bloomberg.

    "So traders and investors will be focused on domestic data, valuations and trying to understand how to navigate these crazy markets."

    Sembcorp Marine rose two cents to $2.37 while Keppel Corp gained six cents to $6.79.

    CIMB Research released a note yesterday in which analyst Lim Siew Khee maintained her "neutral" call on the offshore and marine sector. She pointed to prolonged weakness in the rigbuilding industry and said the two firms are receiving "chunkier" new orders that take longer to come to fruition.

    CapitaLand climbed a cent to $2.80, after announcing that its unit The Ascott had recently secured new contracts to manage over 850 units in four cities in Asia.

    OCBC Investment Research analyst Eli Lee maintained his "buy" call on the stock, noting: "We are overall positive that Ascott continues to show good growth in its portfolio; the group is now the world's largest global serviced residence owner and operator."

    Other property plays were mixed. City Developments was unchanged at $8.55, Far East Hospitality Trust slipped half a cent to 61 cents and Wheelock Properties added half a cent to $1.505.