Business

Strong start to week with STI up 16 points

Performance boosted by rising oil prices, positive consumer sentiment, says CMC Markets

Traders here returned to the work week still riding the high of last week's improved retail figures and the onward march of oil prices.

The benchmark Straits Times Index gained 15.85 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 3,536.41 yesterday.

The general bourse saw 2.25 billion shares, worth almost $1.06 billion in all, changing hands.

All three local banks buzzed in the wake of news reports that they have hiked home loan interest rates, which should give earnings the requisite lift.

DBS Group was higher by 20 cents, or 0.76 per cent, at $26.54, at day's end.

OCBC Bank ticked up by nine cents, or 0.69 per cent, to $13.08, and United Overseas Bank gained 23 cents, or 0.83 per cent, to $28.10.

Other constituents that gave a fillip to the index included Keppel Corporation, which added 13 cents, or 1.63 per cent, to $8.12, on a turnover of nearly 5.32 million shares.

And City Developments was higher by 32 cents, or 2.45 per cent, to $13.36, with almost 3.53 million shares traded.

Singapore Press Holdings, which has just turned in a 32.1 per cent year-on-year rise in first-quarter earnings, closed up by eight cents, or 3.04 per cent, to $2.71, on a volume of 6.78 million shares.

Meanwhile, Catalist-listed manufacturer JEP Holdings was slapped with a query by the bourse operator in the morning.

The counter powered to the top of the actives list on a churn of 193.8 million shares for the day. It put on 0.4 cent, or 7.02 per cent, to finish at 6.1 cents.

But with losers in fact beating out gainers 238 to 206 on the exchange, some stocks had a bad case of the Monday blues.

One such counter was logistics provider GKE Corporation.

It slipped by 0.3 cents, or 2.83 per cent, to 10.3 cents, as 16.12 million shares moved.

And HC Surgical Specialists fell by two cents, or 2.74 per cent, on its ex-dividend date, to 71 cents.

Datapulse Technology, which is embroiled in a tussle between the co-founder's family and the current board, shed 2.5 cents, or 6.58 per cent, to 35.5 cents.

Watchers were mixed on what to expect with local equities in the coming days.

Singapore-based CMC Markets sales trader Oriano Lizza said in the morning: "It has been a strong start for the benchmark index in 2018 and it looks to continue with rising oil prices and positive consumer sentiment."

But IG Asia market strategist Pan Jingyi opined that the Singapore index faces "a struggle to see prices exit the current consolidation, locked between 3,500 and 3,550, despite the positive leads we have".

Around the region, the Nikkei gained 0.26 per cent, mirroring the strong performance on Wall Street.

Rakuten Securities chief strategist Masayuki Kubota said in a report that the global stock market rally will likely drive foreign buying to Japanese shores.

Across the sea, profit-taking led the Hang Seng to slip by 0.23 per cent, while Shanghai fell by 0.54 per cent as investors played it safe.

Jakarta ticked up by 0.19 per cent. This despite an accident earlier in the day - a walkway fell at the Indonesia Stock Exchange building around lunchtime, leaving more than 70 people hurt.

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