Business

STI climbs despite stock rally fizzling out

The index gains 4.94 points to close at 3,316.21; advancers outnumber decliners 197 to 172

The rally witnessed by markets in Asia started to dissipate yesterday but the Singapore market still managed to close higher despite a lack of catalysts.

The Straits Times Index (STI) gained 4.94 points or 0.15 per cent to close at 3,316.21.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Japan, South Korea, China and Malaysia closed moderately higher, while Australia and Hong Kong closed lower.

On the mixed showing in Asia, IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted that they have "exhausted the leads from the first half of the week as investors look to new leads in the US-China trade talks before Friday's US non-farm payrolls data release".

Trading in Singapore clocked in at 1.38 billion securities, in line with the daily average over the first two months of 2019.

Total turnover came to $1.35 billion, 32 per cent over the January-to-February daily average. Advancers outnumbered decliners 197 to 172.

Ten of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the red. Among them, Genting Singapore was the bourse's most traded with 239.3 million shares changing hands.

Its shares slumped 10 cents or 9.3 per cent to close at $0.97.

The casino operator faced a heavy sell-off following news that a 50 per cent increase in casino entry levies for Singaporeans and permanent residents kicked in yesterday and higher casino tax rates that will take effect from March 2022.

The capital expenditure required for the $4.5 billion reinvestment plan for Resorts World Sentosa were also likely to have weighed on their minds.

On yesterday's selloff, a trader The Business Times spoke to said: "There is sentiment among investors to sell off to a support of around $0.98 to $1.00 before analysing the detailed impact of the levies, tax tiering and investment required for the integrated resorts."

Genting Singapore also saw the most value of trade done, with $236.25 million traded or 17.5 per cent of the bourse's value of securities for the day.

Financials fared well, giving a lift to the benchmark index. Of the trio, United Overseas Bank stood out, closing $0.31 or 1.2 per cent higher at $26.41.

DBS Group Holdings added $0.12 or 0.5 per cent to close at $26.85 while OCBC Bank closed eight cents or 0.7 per cent higher at $11.63.

Among non-STI counters, pennies saw heavy movements yesterday.

Synagie Corp surged by as much as 40 per cent in the early session but settled to close two cents or 31.8 per cent higher at 8.3 cents.

When queried by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on its unusual trading activity, Synagie said it was in compliance with listing rules.

After market close, the company said it has expanded to Vietnam.

A remisier noted that information on the deal could have been leaked without Synagie's knowledge.

Among other pennies that saw heavy trading was e-commerce firm Y Ventures, which closed 8.9 cents, up 2.6 cents or 41.3 per cent. It too had received a query from the SGX.

Meanwhile, OKH Global gained 0.5 cent or 33.3 per cent to two cents, and Miyoshi added half a cent or 11.1 per cent to finish five cents.

Trading volume in both counters were at least 10 times more than on Wednesday.

"Having made on the rally in large cap counters, traders may have shifted their attention to small caps," the remisier remarked.

A number of oil and gas counters like Rex International, GSS Energy and KirsEnergy closed lower, which UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products Brandon Leu suggested was likely due to a drop in oil price futures during the Asian session as it nears a four-month high.

For full listings of SGX prices, go to https://www2.sgx.com

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