Mar 24, 2016

    Thin trading in wake of Brussels attacks

    LOCAL shares stayed largely unchanged yesterday in keeping with other regional markets as investors digested news of the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) inched up 1.33 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 2,881.98, reversing its losses in the last few minutes of trading.

    Markets elsewhere in the region had similar results. Both Tokyo and Hong Kong eased 0.3 per cent, Seoul pared 0.1 per cent while Sydney dropped 0.5 per cent.

    Shanghai rose 0.4 per cent following a rocky session.

    "This is a reflection of broader geopolitical risks out there," Chris Green, an Auckland-based strategist at brokerage and wealth management firm First NZ Capital Group, told Bloomberg.

    "Usually, such attacks will have only a short-term impact.

    "Investors' focus remains on macro-economic fundamentals and we do need to see more signs of sustainability in the United States economy and some stability in the Chinese data. I'm somewhat cautious given the recent rally we've seen."

    Wall Street slipped 0.2 per cent on Tuesday as travel sector stocks took a hit in the wake of the Brussels attacks.

    At home, firm gains in Global Logistic Properties helped prop up the STI.

    The counter jumped 10 cents or 5.3 per cent to $1.98 on a volume of 36.2 million units.

    The modern logistics facilities provider had received a query from the Singapore Exchange in midday trade about the unusual trading activity, but said it was not aware of any reasons.

    Oil and gas-related plays fared relatively well as crude prices continued to hold steady at levels above US$40 a barrel.

    Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings grew two cents or 2 per cent to $1.025.

    Conglomerate Keppel Corporation inched up one cent or 0.2 per cent to $6.04 and Sembcorp Industries climbed two cents or 0.6 per cent to $3.23.

    Sembcorp's marine arm Sembcorp Marine shaved half a cent or 0.3 per cent to $1.725.

    Palm oil giant Golden-Agri Resources sank half a cent or 1.1 per cent to 43 cents while telco Singtel slid three cents or 0.8 per cent to $3.83.

    Outside the STI, Noble Group continued to clock gains, rising two cents or 4.3 per cent to 49 cents as one of the day's top actives, with 121.8 million shares changing hands.

    StarHub, which announced on Tuesday it is expanding its pay TV offerings by taking a stake in content producer mm2 Asia, edged up two cents or 0.6 per cent to $3.34.

    The most heavily traded stock was again OKH Global on a strong turnover of 196.7 million units.

    The property developer regained footing to soar 1.9 cents or 22.4 per cent to 10.4 cents after tumbling nearly 80 per cent on Monday.

    Overall volume was thin with 1.32 billion units worth $977.7 million being traded.

    Investors will likely be focused on the Budget today.