Sep 06, 2016

    STI stages strong U-turn on Singtel, banks' rise

    A SHARP rebound in Singtel and the local banking counters helped Singapore stocks rally a whopping 1.7 per cent yesterday.

    The upswing, after five straight sessions of losses, came as investors dial back expectations of a September rate hike following a disappointing August employment report in the United States.

    The Straits Times Index rallied 47.82 points to 2,851.74, led by Singtel, which rebounded 2.1 per cent or eight cents to $3.95. At least two brokerages noted that the telco will be the least affected among the three incumbents by the entry of a fourth provider because of its diversified revenue base.

    One broker said Friday's telcos' sell-off was overdone as the "Singapore mobile business only contributes 5 per cent to Singtel valuation".

    Banks enjoyed a much-needed respite from a recent sell-off, with DBS Group Holdings jumping 1.5 per cent or 22 cents to $15.25.

    OCBC climbed 1.4 per cent or 12 cents to $8.71. United Overseas Bank rose 1.4 per cent or 26 cents to $18.26.

    Property counters also rallied on dimming prospects of a September rate hike, with CapitaLand jumping 2.9 per cent or nine cents to $3.16, and City Developments climbing 4.4 per cent or 38 cents to $8.96.

    Penny stocks were again the most actively traded. Short covering drove up Noble Group by 11.6 per cent or 1.3 cents to 12.5 cents, with 229.6 million shares done. Cedar Strategic surged 50 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.3 cent, with 166.2 million shares traded.

    Oil and gas plays Ezion Holdings and Ezra Holdings also rebounded after Brent jumped more than 5 per cent to trade above US$49 a barrel on hopes that Saudi Arabia and Russia may agree on an output cap.

    Ezra jumped 7.7 per cent or 0.3 cent to 4.2 cents, with 40.7 million shares traded.

    Ezion rose 6.4 per cent or 1.5 cents to 25 cents with 31.6 million shares traded.

    United Industrial Corp was hit with a query from the Singapore Exchange over unusual price movements.

    The stock fell 1.4 per cent or four cents to $2.72.