Business

STI up 60 points on Wall Street gains

Singapore Press Holdings, Sats among strong gainers

Asian markets rose on the heels of Wall Street's gains, with the key Straits Times Index (STI) up 59.62 points or 1.7 per cent to return back above the 3,500 level.

Finishing at 3,557.82, the index gains were mostly contributed by the three local banks whose share prices have been on a week-long uptrend.

Investment banking firm Jefferies had yesterday reiterated its "buy" call on DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank, believing that the policy shift by Singapore's central bank last week suggested a reflationary outlook that augurs well for bank performance.

Analyst Krishna Guha said: "Historically, policy tightening has resulted in positive absolute performance for financials."

Index constituents such as Singapore Press Holdings also rose 11 cents or 4.2 per cent to $2.71 after announcing a tie-up with Google Home.

It will allow users of the voice-enabled smart speaker to listen to news and podcasts from some of its newspapers and radio stations.

Chief ground-handling and in-flight catering service provider at Changi Airport, Sats, also rose 18 cents or 3.4 per cent to $5.45.

One analyst, declining to be named, said this could be linked to a Bloomberg report last week.

It said Singapore state investor Temasek is studying potential investments in Swissport Group and Gategroup Holding, both owned by HNA, as it considers deals with the indebted Chinese conglomerate.

Swissport offers ground and cargo handling services at airports, while Gategroup is an airline caterer - not unlike what Sats does as its core business.

"The street may be extrapolating something from there," the analyst said.

Sats is two-fifths owned by Temasek.

On Tuesday, a Reuters report also said that Temasek is interested in buying into HNA's Hong Kong-based carriers, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express Airways.

GAINERS

Overall on the stock market, some 2.2 billion shares worth $1.5 billion were traded. Gainers outpaced losers 233 to 193.

Mr Eli Lee, head of investment strategy at Bank of Singapore, said: "After a two-day losing streak, Asian markets rose as the US earnings season started on a firm note, which pointed to still-healthy economic fundamentals and also offset lingering concerns over trade tensions and conflict in the Middle-East."

Stocks that bucked the rising trend on the local bourse, however, include Creative Technology, which fell 19 cents or 3.2 per cent to $5.72, and Best World International, which lost eight cents or 4.8 per cent, closing below its 50-day moving average at $1.59.

Ezion Holdings also continued its share slide, shedding another 1.7 cent or 8.8 per cent to $0.177 after the resumption of trading in its shares on Tuesday.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi described sentiment on Wall Street as being "generally positive", with "risk sentiment contained and earnings driving optimism within the equity market space".

This was also evident in Netflix's 9.2 per cent jump on Tuesday, topping its March high to print a new all-time record, after the streaming giant reported that profits grew 63 per cent from a year ago to US$290 million (S$380 million), while revenues jumped 43 per cent to US$3.7 billion.

Worth watching in the local bourse later this week is Datapulse Technology's stock, as a six-month-long bitter shareholder feud comes to a head at tomorrow's extraordinary general meeting.

It will see one board pit itself against four proposed directors.

Shareholders will also vote on the fate of the company's controversial diversification plan.

For full listings of SGX prices, go to http://btd.sg/BTmkts

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