Business

STI outperforms broader market

Benchmark index gets a lift from tech and banking counters; Golden Agri-Resources is most traded

Equity benchmarks in Asia were mostly in a buoyant mood yesterday, building on their rally since the turn of the year.

"The air of optimism remains thick as improving risk sentiment on the back of US-China trade talks has Asia markets accelerating higher," SPI Asset Management's head of trading and market strategy, Stephen Innes, remarked.

The Straits Times Index (STI) pared Monday's dip to close at 3,332.04, up 6.18 points or 0.2 per cent, getting a lift from tech and banking counters.

China led the region's gains with the Shanghai Composite Index adding 2.4 per cent to close at 3,253.6, a near 13-month high.

Meanwhile, South Korea's benchmark Kospi closed at 2,248.63, up 5.75 points or 0.3 per cent, registering 13 straight sessions of gains.

On the Singapore bourse, trading clocked in at 1.31 billion securities, 3.5 per cent over the daily average in the first three months of this year.

Total turnover came to $1.06 billion, higher than the January-to-March daily average by 3.4 per cent.

Decliners slightly outpaced advancers at 206 to 200. Compared to the broader market, the benchmark index fared better on the day, with nine of the 30 STI constituents ending in the red.

Among them, Golden Agri-Resources was the blue-chip index's most traded. It dropped one cent or 3.2 per cent to end at $0.30 with 35.7 million shares changing hands.

Acknowledging that most agri counters in Singapore have sizeable exposure to Indonesia, UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products, Mr Brandon Leu, said: "The market looked like it was taking profit ahead of Indonesia's elections on Wednesday, to hedge risk."

Singapore bellwether banking counters all ended yesterday's session in positive territory.

DBS Group Holdings closed $0.15 or 0.6 per cent up at $27.16.

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank finished two cents or 0.2 per cent higher at $11.69, and United Overseas Bank added five cents or 0.2 per cent to end at $26.66.

Electronics manufacturing services firm, Venture Corporation, added $0.73 or 3.9 per cent to close at $19.35.

A trader told The Business Times that tech counters in the Singapore market were "likely led by the tech rally in Chinese equity markets on Tuesday".

Among non-STI counters, Asian Pay Television Trust (APTT) continued to gain on heavy trading. The business trust that is focused on pay-TV businesses surged 3.2 cents or 20.4 per cent to end at 18.9 cents on 88.4 million units traded.

"The market has taken news that APTT's trustee-manager's undertaking of a strategic review of the trust and Taiwan Broadband Communications Group very well," a remisier said. APTT has leapt 31.7 per cent since the news broke before Monday's open.

Logistics player CWT Ltd's parent - Hong Kong-listed CWT International - missing interest and fee payments, which triggered a cross default under a HK$1.4 billion (S$241 million) loan facility, drew much attention in the local market.

This led to a sell-off by investors in three Singapore real estate investment trust counters where CWT is a major tenant. Cache Logistics Trust, which has the heaviest exposure to CWT Ltd, saw its units shed four cents or 5.3 per cent to close at 71.5 cents.

Meanwhile, Mapletree Logistics Trust units closed six cents or 4 per cent down at $1.42, and AIMS APAC Reit units dipped two cents or 1.4 per cent to close at $1.39.

DBS Group Research analysts said in a report that the brokerage does not expect major near-term earnings disruptions to the Reits as security deposits made by CWT would minimise downside risks.

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