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Singapore shares closed mixed - STI weakens but broad market rises

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AN 80 point jump in the Dow futures contract, a 0.6 per cent rise in Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and a firm opening Europe-wide on Wednesday suggested that markets were positioning themselves for a dovish US Federal Open Markets Committee meeting, but these developments failed to stir local blue chips into life - the Straits Times Index (STI) drifted within a narrow band before finishing a nett 3.95 points weaker at 2,850.74.

Penny activity however, was relatively strong, with unit turnover amounting to 1.52 billion units, the highest so far this week. Dollar value however, was also the highest for the week at S$944 million, though it was below the longer-term average of S$1.1 billion. Excluding warrants, there were 221 rises versus 150 falls.

Among the actives was AsiaMedic, which caught the eye with a S$0.025 or 36 per cent jump to S$0.091 on volume of 27.5 million, a move which also attracted the attention of the Singapore Exchange which despatched a morning query to the company.

Other pennies that attracted plenty of volume included Noble Group, Ezra and Magnus Energy. The STI's most active component was Golden Agri which added S$0.005 at S$0.36 on volume of 16.8 million while ISR Capital, which led the penny charge on Monday with 71 per cent surge to S$0.26 fell S$0.02 to S$0.225 on volume of 23.7 million.

Macquarie Warrants (MW) in its daily newsletter said that Macquarie Equities Research or MQ has tweaked its 12-month target for the STI down to 2,900 from 2,950, a move driven by low single-digit percentage cuts to both MQ's bottom-up and top-down targets.