Singapore stocks inch higher despite muted export growth

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Investors sent the local market higher on Friday despite export growth for August missing an analyst forecast. The Straits Times Index (STI) inched up 0.2 per cent, or 6.69 points, to 3,071.23 points as non-oil domestic exports grew 2.7 per cent year on year, missing an 8.5 per cent growth forecast in a Bloomberg poll.

Losers outpaced gainers 251 to 248, with 2.86 billion shares worth $2.62 billion changing hands.

Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley believes the weaker economic data offset positive response to a government package to encourage start-ups to list here instead of seeking the initial public offering riches of Wall Street.

“Singapore’s non-oil exports have disappointed today, falling by 3.6 per cent month on month in August, led by falls in pharmaceuticals,” he said.

“Concerns that Singapore’s recovery might be slowing, a club that seems to get bigger by the week, is weighing on local equities.”

The STI’s top performers were a trio of Mapletree real estate investment trusts. Mapletree Industrial Trust gained 2.5 per cent to $2.92, Mapletree Logistics Trust rose 1.4 per cent to $2.11, while Mapletree Commercial Trust advanced at the same pace to end at $2.12.

Hongkong Land was at the bottom of the table, down 2.8 per cent at US$4.53.

The most heavily traded counter on the blue-chip index was Singtel, with 65.2 million shares traded as it added 1.3 per cent to $2.43.

The local banks also closed higher. DBS was up 0.6 per cent to $30.25, UOB gained 0.8 per cent to $25.76 and OCBC closed 0.3 per cent higher at $11.63.

Most Asian markets steadied after losses earlier in the week. The Hang Seng Index added 1 per cent to end a four-day losing streak. The Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 per cent, the Kospi closed up 0.3 per cent and the Jakarta Composite climbed 0.4 per cent. But Malaysian shares fell 0.4 per cent.