Singapore equities continue climb

After sprint by equities on Tuesday, investors go for profit-taking yesterday

After the sprint by Singapore equities on Tuesday, it was almost a sure thing that investors would go for profit-taking the next day - and they did, mirroring Wall Street on Tuesday where the S&P 500 was flat and the tech-heavy Nasdaq retreated from earlier highs.

And so the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) spent most of yesterday morning in the red until Chinese data cushioned the fall. China's trade data gave investors some hope even though October exports lagged market expectations to rise by 6.9 per cent from a year earlier.

Imports beat forecasts though, rising 17.2 per cent. The country reportedly has a trade surplus of US$38.17 billion for the month.

Supported by this, the STI gained 8.15 points or 0.24 per cent to 3,421.25 but the gains were not broad-based.

Turnover came in at 2.8 billion units worth $1.3 billion, averaging out to 46 cents a share. Excluding warrants, losers beat gainers 250 to 194.

Of the three banking stocks, only OCBC Bank went through a correction, losing 1.8 index points and dipping five cents to end at $11.76.

DBS Bank and United Overseas Bank added a combined 6.5 points to the index, with shares of DBS rising 27 cents to end at $23.76 and UOB's counter climbing eight cents to $25.21.

In the property sector, CapitaLand stocks slipped eight cents to $3.64 on a volume of 19.5 million. Shares of CapitaLand Commercial Trust slid two cents to $1.81 on a volume of 19.4 million.

Both counters made it to the actives list. CapitaLand's profit in Q3 was boosted by fair value and portfolio gains from its Singapore and China properties, rising 28 per cent to $316.95 million.


In the second line, more than 26.5 million shares of Catalist-listed Spackman Entertainment Group changed hands yesterday, lifting it among the top 20 most active counters. The stock closed 0.2 cent higher to 12 cents.

Ms Lim Siew Khee, head of Singapore research at CIMB, noted that earnings have been good so far, driven by the banks, manufacturing and gaming.

"Industrials such as Sembcorp Industries and Sembcorp Marine earnings have not been great but are not surprising because of weak orders last year.

"Keppel Corporation did well, thanks to investment division and divestment gains," she said.

Her three top picks are Venture Corporation as momentum is going strong into 2018 coupled with the hope of dividend increase; Keppel Corporation for the safer proxy to any return of oil and gas spending, as well as divestment gains to contribute more to the dividend pool and the potential for higher dividend in 2018; DBS for having the cleanest book with early adoption of Financial Reporting Standard 109 and accelerated recognition of residual oil and gas exposure as non-performing assets, and stronger earnings growth on the back of lower credit costs and healthy business momentum.

Index heavyweight Singtel closed unchanged yesterday at $3.78, ahead of its results announcement today.

Others slated to release their financials or estimates today include Sats, First Resources, Parkway Life Reit, Ho Bee Land and Fragrance Group.

Turning to the region, US President Donald Trump is in China following visits to South Korea and Japan.

North Korea and trade are expected to dominate the trip, with the US leader likely to push Chinese President Xi Jinping to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes and address China's large trade surplus with the US.

This article appears in The Business Times today. For full listings of SGX prices, go to