After the selling and volatility of the first seven sessions of 2016, the eighth session on Wednesday, during which the Straits Times Index finished a nett 4.72 points higher at 2,696.50 in a largely quiet trading, did at least give battered traders some relief.
Turnover at 1.1 billion units worth S$1.2 billion was inflated by heavy trading of offshore and marine (O&M) stocks such as Keppel Corp and SembCorp Marine (SMM) because of the ongoing slump in oil. Excluding warrants, there were 208 rises versus 201 falls.
A Tuesday bounce on Wall Street, a 100-points rise in Dow futures on Wednesday and a 1.1 per cent gain for the Hang Seng Index were likely the reason for the stable session here. However, China stocks slid sharply in the final half hour of trading.
On the downside, the slide in oil prices to almost below the US$30 per barrel level continued to exert a drag on the O&M sector. On Tuesday, the losses were led by Keppel Corp. On Wednesday, it was SMM's turn to lead the way when it lost S$0.04 at S$1.47 on turnover of seven million.
Among the stocks which stood out was Singapore-based China property developer and investment firm Chiwayland International, formerly known as RH Energy. The stock rose S$0.009 to S$0.087 on volume of 34.3 million drawing a query from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) for reasons behind the rise in volume. On Monday, it traded 381,000 units and on Tuesday, 2.5 million.
Halcyon Agri and GMG Global, two counters queried by SGX on Tuesday because of unusual activity in their shares, did not trade on Wednesday. Both had requested trading halts after being queried, pending announcements.