singapore stocks end marginally higher on the first day of smaller lot trading 88022015

Retail investors are yet to fully realise the benefits of small-lot trading on the SGX

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Singapore’s Straits Times Index (STI) ended 7.02 points higher or +0.21 per cent to 3,307.7, taking the year-to-date performance to -1.71 per cent. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained +0.32 per cent, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined -0.41 per cent.

The top gaining FTSE ST sectors were oil and gas (+1.15 per cent), real estate (+1.06 per cent) and healthcare (+0.76 per cent), while the big losers were basic materials (-1.24 per cent), utilities (-1.20 per cent) and maritime (-0.67 per cent). On the SGX, losing stocks outnumbered gainers by 239/193.

The SGX commenced trading with smaller lots yesterday, though that did not reflect in a significantly higher closing. The exchange said it was encouraged by the response from retail investors, considering Wall Street was closed for a holiday, according to the Straits Times. On a comparative basis, the exchange traded 1,170.9 million shares at a value of SG$897.2 million on Monday, sharply lower compared to a volume of 1,765.1 million shares valued at SG$1,388.8 million traded on Friday.

The MediShield Life Scheme Bill, which makes provisions for implementation and administration of a universal health coverage scheme for Singaporeans and permanent residents, was tabled in Parliament on Monday, according to The Business Times. The government proposed to spend nearly SG$4 billion in the coming five years to help Singaporeans with the premiums payable on Medishield Life, in the form of premium subsidies and other kinds of support.

Minister for Trade and Industry, Lim Hng Kiang said in Parliament yesterday that Singapore would benefit from lower oil prices, according to TODAY. “For businesses, lower electricity tariffs and fuel costs will help lower their input costs. This will improve their margins and could also dampen the pass-through of business costs to consumer prices,” Mr Lim said. “Consumers, on their part, will benefit from lower spending on electricity and other oil-related items such as petrol. Lower inflation could also increase their purchasing power, stimulating consumption,” he added.

The latest Singapore Index of Inflation Expectations (SInDEx) by the Singapore Management University (SMU) shows inflation expectations in Singapore have fallen to the lowest levels in three years due to the slump in oil prices and weak global economic growth, says The Business Times. Consumers covered in the survey expect overall inflation to come in at 3.53 per cent this year, down significantly from the previous one-year inflation expectation of 3.73 per cent observed in September 2014.

Mapletree Logistics Trust (SGX:M44U) said net property income was up 3.1 per cent to SG$9.48 million during the third quarter ended December 31, and that gross revenue climbed 6.2 per cent to SG$82.92 million compared to the year prior period. The stock closed 1.65 per cent higher at SG$1.23.

Port operator PSA International said on Monday that its Singapore terminals handled 33.55 million 20-foot container equivalent unit (TEU) in 2014, up 4.1 per cent year-on-year. Globally the operator’s throughput volume rose 5.8 per cent in 2014 to 65.44 TEUs, said the Straits Times. PSA chief executive Tan Chong Meng said: "Global trade growth was modest and that, coupled with the introduction of many mega vessels, resulted in overcapacity and low freight rates for liner carriers… Amidst the challenging backdrop, the PSA Group has put in a credible performance."

Keppel Infrastructure Trust (SGX:LH4U) said profit during the financial year ended December 31, 2014 was 10.4 per cent lower at SG$12.7 million compared to the year prior. Earnings fell on account of lower production of NEWater, a lower power tariff due to the crash in oil prices and higher expenses.

Paint businessman Goh Cheng Liang, with an estimated fortune of US$8.2 billion (SG$10.9 billion), has topped the Singapore Bloomberg Billionaires Index, overtaking banking heavyweight Wee Cho Yaw to become the richest person in Singapore, according to TODAY.

Though Wall Street was closed for a holiday, European shares powered to a seven-year high on anticipation that European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi will on Thursday deliver a €1 trillion (SG$1.41 trillion) quantitative easing (QE) package needed to help push the eurozone economy forward. However Chinese stocks plunged over 6 per cent yesterday following government measures to curb speculation through a ban on margin trading. Investors will need to watch out for Chinese GDP figures, to be released today.

Find up to date information on the Straits Times Index at City Index.

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