singapore stocks put up a token gain on low volume 1202372015

It’s wait-and-watch now for the US jobs report

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Singapore stocks ended nearly 1 per cent higher as global investors breathed a sigh of relief owing to the shutdown of Chinese markets due to a holiday. The rebound was perhaps a technical correction given that the Straits Times Index had plunged nearly 78 points over the previous three trading sessions.

Volumes were pathetic, and investors were clearly marking time pending the release of the monthly jobs report in the US on Friday. That report could give valuable indication on the direction of the US Fed interest rate policy.

Indices and sectors

The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 28.3 points or 0.98 per cent higher at 2,906.43, taking the year-to-date performance to -13.63 per cent.

The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained 0.55 per cent, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index rose 0.24 per cent.

The Singapore Exchange traded a volume of 1,050.7 million shares valued at SG$642.1 million. Gainers outnumbered losers by 240/143.

Amongst the FTSE ST sectors, the big gainers included healthcare (+1.87 per cent), utilities (+1.57 per cent), industrials (+1.37 per cent) and consumer services (+1.14 per cent). There were only two losing sectors namely, technology (-0.65 per cent) and consumer goods (-0.12 per cent).


The composition of the benchmark Straits Times Index will change with effect from September 21. In a semi-annual review, it has been decided that property giant UOL Group Limited (SGX:U14), shipbuilder Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd (SGX:BS6) and engineering firm Sats Ltd (SGX:S58) will join the index, while Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited (SGX:J36), Jardine Strategic Holdings Limited(SGX:J37) and Olam International Ltd (SGX:O32) will exit.

"In response to market demand, a recent market consultation showed strong support for the introduction of an enhanced liquidity rule for the STI beginning with this review," said Singapore Press Holdings, Singapore Exchange and FTSE Russell in a statement Thursday.

According to analysts, the companies which have been newly added to the index may see higher bidding by investors, while those which have been removed are likely to face selling pressure.

Noble Group Limited (SGX:N21) is expanding its oil desk in the face of an oil price rout as well as the continuing controversy regarding its accounting practices triggered by an unknown firm called Iceberg Research. According to a report in the Straits Times, Noble has hired three middle distillates traders from BP to join two existing traders for jet fuel and gasoil, and has also added three crude traders to start trading physical cargoes in Asia.

San Francisco-based Coinbase has launched retail buy-and-sell operations of bitcoin, the digital currency, in Singapore, its first foray into Asia. According to Straits Times, which quoted Coinbase Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Brian Armstrong, consumers in Singapore could buy and sell bitcoin using the local currency effective 8 AM on Thursday, September 3, local time.

PACC Offshore Services Holdings Ltd (SGX:U6C) has been slapped with a legal suit for SG$7.1 million worth of damages and deposit by Kensteel Engineering in relation to a property transacted in January 2015, according to the Business Times.

Food and beverage company Del Monte Pacific Ltd (SGX:D03) said net loss during the first quarter ended July 31 fell to US$12 million (SG$17 million), while sales rose 6 per cent US$472.8 million. Due to seasonal considerations the first quarter is usually the weakest for Del Monte. "Our financial performance tends to be skewed towards the second half of our fiscal year when Del Monte is the brand of choice for festive occasions," said Del Monte Foods chief executive Nils Lommerin, according to the Straits Times.

Oceanus Group Limited (SGX:579) said in a Thursday filing that it intended to transfer from the mainboard to the CataList board, and that it would apply for the transfer in due course subject to shareholder approvals. The company said it had completed its restructuring of SG$64.4 million of loans and almost three billion warrants on Sept 2, and was in talks with Stamford Corporate Services to be appointed as its Catalist sponsor.

Shipbuilder and vessel owner Otto Marine Ltd (SGX:BER) announced Thursday that it had won two long-term charter contracts worth US$25.2 million from a “large oil and gas company” for two 16,000 brake horsepower large anchor handling tugs supply (AHTS) vessels, according to the Business Times.

Economic news

According to data from SRX Property, the resale volume of Housing and Development Board (HDB) declined again in August to 1447 flats, down 6.8 per cent from 1552 flats transacted in July. On a year-on-year basis however, resale volume was up 9 per cent. Resale prices were up 0.3 per cent in August after falling 0.5 per cent in July. However, on a year-on-year basis overall resale prices fell 3 per cent, said Channel News Asia.

On Wall Street Thursday, US stocks ended higher in volatile trading as investors coped with the impact from the ECB pledge to increase its economic stimulus measures, and weighed the likely impact from the monthly payroll report due Friday.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23.38 points, or 0.14 percent, to 16,374.76, while the benchmark S&P 500 gained 2.27 points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,951.13. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 16.48 points, or 0.35 percent, to 4,733.50.

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