Business

STI ends roller-coaster week on subdued note

Gainers outnumbered losers but Singapore bourse finishes flat

A roller-coaster week in the market drew to a close on Friday with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) up for the day by 16 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 3,449.54.

About 2.1 billion shares changed hands to the tune of $1.21 billion, and gainers outnumbered losers 231 to 203. This week's change was an increase of 0.21 per cent on the previous week.

But it was another flattish day on the Singapore bourse, even after the Dow finished above the 24,000-point mark for the first time and the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up 0.73 per cent.

Still, Thursday's warning from the Monetary Authority of Singapore about "excessive exuberance" in the property market has not put an end to the party for real estate stocks here.

City Developments added $0.02, or 0.17 per cent, to $12.13. CapitaLand rose by $0.04, or 1.13 per cent, to $3.57. And GuocoLand was up by $0.02, or 0.96 per cent, to $2.10.

Meanwhile, OCBC Investment Research released its latest report on the oil and gas sector yesterday morning. Despite flagging "continued unease" in small-cap and mid-cap stocks, the OCBC analysts stuck to "buy" calls on the larger companies - Keppel Corporation, Sembcorp Marine and Sembcorp Industries.

MERGER SPECULATION

"Asia proved cautious as American tech equities’ recovery from a Wednesday sell-off was dampened by uncertainty over the tax reform debate on Capitol Hill"

They noted that speculation persists as to a potential merger between Singapore's two large yard groups and added that Sembcorp Industries has yet to release the results of its strategic review.

Sembcorp Industries closed flat at $3.05, but SembMarine rose $0.02, or 1.1 per cent, to $1.87 on a turnover of 5.76 million shares.

Keppel Corp, which announced yesterday that a subsidiary had jointly nabbed a HK$31 billion ($5.37 billion) waste management project, put on $0.13, or 1.7 per cent, to $7.76.

In other news, the two busiest counters for the day - both losers - were Allied Technologies and New Wave Holdings.

Allied Tech dipped by half a Singapore cent, or 5.95 per cent, to $0.079, with 135.4 million shares changing hands.

The company earlier announced that it had received the last pot of cash it was owed for last year's sale of a Chinese unit.

Catalist-listed aluminium distributor New Wave lost 0.1 Singapore cent, or 7.14 per cent, to $0.013, on a turnover of 94.6 million shares.

The decline came after the collapse of tycoon Koh Wee Meng's takeover bid. Mr Koh, the chief executive of Fragrance Group, had made an offer in October of 1.3 cents a share.

Other regional markets also ended on a subdued note yesterday.

Asia proved cautious as American tech equities' recovery from a Wednesday sell-off was dampened by uncertainty over the tax reform debate on Capitol Hill.

DBS economists Taimur Baig and Irvin Seah also noted in a report yesterday that the spectre of tighter monetary policy is looming over emerging and developed markets alike.

Shanghai rose 0.01 per cent and Tokyo 0.41 per cent, but Seoul dipped 0.04 per cent and Hong Kong fell for the fifth day with a 0.35 per cent loss.

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BUSINESS & FINANCE