Jan 09, 2014

    Upbeat US data lifts S'pore bourse

    TTHE Singapore market returned to its winning ways yesterday after upbeat trade data from the United States lifted investor sentiment.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 29.77 points or 0.95 per cent to 3,150.65 as it snapped a three-session losing run.

    "We said last week that the next resistance was at 3,170, and a short-term consolidation is likely at these levels - this is what we are experiencing this week," said a note by Phillip Securities Research.

    "We have a longer-term bullish bias due to macro fundamentals."

    US data out on Tuesday showed that the trade deficit in November fell to its lowest level since October 2009.

    The good news boosted Wall Street on Tuesday, and offered more evidence that the economy is improving, in line with a statement by the Federal Reserve last month that it will reduce its vast money-printing programme.

    The cut in bond-buying starts this month. The minutes from last month's Fed meeting were slated to be released after Asian markets closed yesterday.

    Elsewhere in the region, Japanese shares rose 1.94 per cent and Hong Kong advanced 1.25 per cent.

    At home, the banks were among the gainers on the STI. DBS Group Holdings jumped 33 cents or 1.9 per cent to $17.37 and United Overseas Bank increased 38 cents or 1.8 per cent to $21.10.

    The gain in OCBC Bank was more muted - its shares rose only one cent or 0.1 per cent to $9.76.

    But it did snap a four-session losing streak for OCBC shares which had been the result of concerns over plans to take over Hong Kong's Wing Hang Bank.

    Rumours of the proposed takeover had started swirling late last week, although the news of the ongoing talks was announced only this week.

    Investors were concerned that OCBC could end up over-paying for Wing Hang Bank.

    Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering) rose three cents or 0.8 per cent to $3.91.

    "Following a series of positive announcements from the company, we reaffirm our confidence in ST Engineering continuing to deliver," said a note by DMG & Partners Research. DMG has a "buy" call and target price of $4.56 on ST Engineering.

    In sharp contrast to the blue chips, penny stocks had a poor day at the office. The FTSE ST Catalist Index - which tracks the stocks on the secondary board - fell 1.6 per cent and the FTSE ST Fledgling Index lost 0.5 per cent.