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THE Straits Times Index on Thursday drifted lower for most of the session before ending at 3,455.78 for a net gain of 2.61 points. Brokers said the move was in line with expectations since many had expected Wednesday's short-covering bounce to quickly run out of momentum.
Volume remained poor at 1.5 billion units worth S$971 million, the unit average of S$0.65 suggesting that house traders, proprietary desks and retail trading representatives were once again trawling the penny stock ranks to try and generate business. On this count, the advance-decline score of 215 to 222 excluding warrants suggested they met with only modest success.
Among the index stocks in play was Singtel, which finished unchanged at S$4.36 on volume of 13.4 million. In maintaining a "buy'' on Singtel, Nomura on Thursday described the telco's Q4 figures as a "good result" that is slightly ahead of market expectations with decent operating trends, and a 4 per cent increase in annual dividends.
"Given how diversified (and complex) Singtel's business is, no result is going to be straight-forward and without a mix of positives and negatives," said Nomura.
OCBC Investment Research said it likes the defensive nature of Singtel's business and decent forecast yield of 4.1 per cent, and maintained its "hold" rating, saying it would be buyer at S$4.25 or better.