Asian markets bounce back

STI rises 0.1% with gainers outpacing losers 251 to 150

Having dealt with sell-offs on Wednesday following American intention to slap tariffs on more Chinese goods, Asian markets enjoyed a reprieve, advancing yesterday.

On Tuesday, Washington announced plans to impose 10 per cent tariffs on Chinese imports worth US$200 billion (S$270 billion) after efforts to negotiate a solution to the dispute failed to bear fruit.

"With Beijing describing the latest threats as 'totally unacceptable' and vowing to retaliate, fears are likely to intensify over a full-scale trade war becoming a reality," said FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga.

"It must be kept in mind that escalating global trade tensions present a major threat to global growth and stability."

Yesterday, Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng urged American companies to lobby the US government to protect their interests.

China also revealed that no talks were presently under way to end the impasse.

In regional markets, the Nikkei 225, Hang Seng, Shanghai Composite, Kospi, ASX 200 and Kuala Lumpur Composite all ended higher yesterday.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 3.93 points or 0.1 per cent to 3,253.01.

Turnover stood at about 2.32 billion and shares worth $1.12 billion in total changed hands, which worked out to an average unit price of 48 cents a share. Gainers greatly outnumbered losers 251 to 150.

On a turnover of 45.4 million shares, commodities trader Noble Group was the most traded stock yesterday, finishing $0.005 or 3.6 per cent higher at 14.4 cents.

The biggest loser of the day was Venture Corporation, which dropped 41 cents or 2.5 per cent to $16.26.

CGS-CIMB analysts jumped on the downgrade camp, lowering their call on the electronics services provider to "hold" and cutting the target price of the stock to $17.83 from $25.64.

Last week, UOB Kay Hian downgraded Venture to "hold", with a target price of $18.20.

Meanwhile, Singapore Exchange continued its rally, posting a five cents or 0.7 per cent rise in its stock to $7.44, the highest since late May.

Shares in the big three banks were mixed with DBS Bank shares closing one cent down at $26, and OCBC Bank three cents or 0.3 per cent lower at $11.30.

United Overseas Bank ended eight cents or 0.3 per cent up at $26.68.

Keppel Corporation shares, which traded as high as $8.86 in late January, ended three cents or 0.4 per cent lower at $6.69.

The mainboard-listed company had been dropped from the blue-chip category of DBS' model portfolio "given mounting trade war worries that has affected sentiment for mid-cycle sector leaders such as rig builders".

"Any further weakness in oil price in the weeks ahead could weigh on rig builders," DBS added.

Singapore-listed offshore support vessel owner-operator PACC Offshore Services Holdings (Posh) closed one cent or 3.4 per cent higher at 30.5 cents. Posh formalised a joint venture for Taiwan's offshore wind market with Hong Kong's Kerry TJ Logistics.

Among property stocks, CapitaLand shares finished four cents or 1.3 per cent up at $3.06 as Oxley Holdings shares closed at 36 cents, unchanged from the previous day.

NRA Capital analysts said the recent share price corrections in the Oxley's stock price following the announcement of property curbs represented a buying opportunity.

Since July 5, Oxley's stock has corrected by 12.2 per cent from 41 cents.

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