Blue chips on a roll as STI rises to 3,472 points

Blue chips on a roll as STI rises to 3,472 points

Local stocks closed the week at a seven-year high, as sentiment got a lift from a hot streak on mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets while small- and mid-cap plays here kept up a recent rally.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 12.08 points, or 0.35 per cent, higher at 3,472.38, with 2.67 billion shares worth $1.22 billion changing hands at SGX.

The strong gain pushed the STI 0.54 per cent higher for the week. This marked its highest close since December 2007 before the market crashed in the financial crisis the next year. The index has gained

steadily in recent weeks to test previous highs of around 3,460.

STI's rise yesterday followed Wall Street's 0.31 per cent rise overnight, but a spillover from the bullish activity in China was also a factor, CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo said.

Shanghai rose a fifth straight day this week, by 1.94 per cent, to hit another seven-year high, while Hong Kong added 1.22 per cent. Speculation remains rife in China, where persistent signs of economic weakness are feeding expectations for economic stimulus measures. "With the hot money drawn to the region by the northern Asia markets, investors may be flowing to Singapore for bargain hunting, as the local market has so far been underperforming. To illustrate, the STI grew only around 3 per cent year to date, compared to Shanghai's 25 per cent and Hong Kong's 15 per cent," Mr Teo said.

Amid the repositioning on local blue chips, Noble emerged as one of the best performers, recovering three cents, or 3.49 per cent, to rise to 89 cents. The rebound could be due to the short-covering - buying back shares to close a short position - that came after Muddy Waters' announcement to short the counter sent shares down by 5.5 per cent on Thursday.

Keppel Corp and SembCorp Marine also gained ground after a 1.8 per cent gain in Brent futures overnight to US$56.57 a barrel. Keppel Corp rose eight cents, or 0.88 per cent, to $9.21 while

SembMarine closed two cents, or 0.68 per cent, higher at $2.98.

Meanwhile, Hongkong Land pared 12 US cents, or 1.57 per cent, to US$7.50, while ComfortDelGro dropped four cents, or 1.37 per cent, to $2.88.

Outside the STI, small- and mid-cap stocks showed no signs of stopping their rally. The FTSE ST Catalist index gained another 1.54 per cent to 745.47 yesterday.

Top gainers among the mid caps included GuocoLeisure, which went up four cents, or 4.4 per cent, to 95 cents and Posh, which closed two cents or 4.26 per cent up at 49 cents.

whwong@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on April 11, 2015.
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