Business

HK closed, and all's quiet on trading front

With Hong Kong closed for the Qing Ming festival, trading here yesterday was quiet ahead of US President Donald Trump's meeting with China's President Xi Jinping later this week.

The Straits Times Index (STI) traded within a narrow band before finishing with an 8.45-point loss at 3,179.06.

Turnover at 1.8 billion units worth S$882 million was low, compared with Monday's S$1.2 billion and Friday's S$1.6 billion, though it was within expectations given Hong Kong's closure.

Excluding warrants, there were 250 rises versus 194 falls.

The day's most active stock was the mainboard's Chasen Holdings, an investment holding company with subsidiaries in specialist relocation solutions, technical and engineering services and third-party logistics.

The company on Monday announced that its Malaysian subsidiary, Chasen Logistics Sdn Bhd, had won a contract worth RM2.15 million (S$680,000) and its Vietnam subsidiary Chasen Transport Logistics had won a contract worth US$210,000 (S$294,000) both to be executed this year.

Chasen's shares jumped S$0.02 or 17.4 per cent to S$0.135 on volume of 126.3 million while its warrants gained S$0.018 or 22.5 per cent at S$0.098 with three million traded.

The latter expires on Feb 1, 2018 and carries an exercise price of S$0.025.

With no trading in Hong Kong, volume in the structured warrants segment was focused on local underlying assets rather than the Hang Seng Index.

These were mainly on the three banks, Keppel Corp and the STI.

DBS's chief investment officer Lim Say Boon in his April 3 Investment Insights said the small bounce in US equities last week masks broader weakness in global equities.

"Brace for more sideways drift to lower prices in coming weeks," added Mr Lim.

"Risk assets are now caught between stronger economic momentum and US policy uncertainties. In the US, investors' doubts over whether the Trump administration can deliver on its fiscal and infrastructure agenda will continue to muddy sentiment."

On the subject of the Trump administration's budget, Mr James Grabovac, managing director at McDonnell Investment Management, said progress on policy initiatives will take longer and likely be moderated as the process moves forward.

"Now that the administration's first policy initiative, repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, has come to an abrupt end, Congress will now begin to debate tax policy changes," noted Mr Grabovac.

"We expect the desire for deficit control will ultimately curb consideration of the most aggressive rate-reduction plans. Infrastructure investment, which should be the easiest to accomplish legislatively, falls last on the agenda."

The Singapore Exchange's investor education portal, My Gateway, reported that apart from the IT sector, the materials and real estate sectors followed their outperformance in February with outperformance again last month.

"Alliance Mineral Assets, China Sunsine Chemical and Kingboard Copper Foil led the materials sector leaders higher in March. Alliance Mineral Assets announced Lithium and Tantalum drilling results in late-January and China Sunsine Chemical reported FY2016 profit growth," it said.

"Yanlord Land, Hongkong Land and City Developments led the real estate management and development sector leaders higher in March. Yanlord Land and Hongkong Land reported FY 2016 profit growth while City Developments' share price remained firm on news of relaxation of some cooling measures in the Singapore residential market."

This article appears in The Business Times today. For full listings of SGX prices, go to http://btd.sg/BTmkts

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