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Singapore shares add 0.4% following positive Wall St earnings session

ASIAN markets were trading mildly higher on Thursday, in line with a US session that saw earnings beat consensus estimates.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) followed Wednesday's mild dip with a gain of 12.82 points or 0.4 per cent to close at 3,381.26.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, markets in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia ended Thursday's session with gains while South Korea bucked the trend, closing lower.

South Korean markets have been underperforming global peers on the back of disappointing corporate earnings and a sluggish economy.

That said, most markets in the region were given a boost by weak manufacturing figures from the eurozone, which added to hopes of a rate cut by the European Central Bank on Thursday.

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In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.18 billion securities while total turnover came to S$1.05 billion. Both figures are in line with their respective daily average in the first six months of 2019.

Across the broader market, advancers narrowly beat decliners 215 to 212. The benchmark index had six of the STI's 30 components closing in the red.

Golden Agri-Resources, which added one Singapore cent or 3.3 per cent to close at 31 cents, was the benchmark index's most traded stock with 48.9 million shares changing hands.

Another Singapore-listed agri-business firm, Wilmar International, also saw active trading on Thursday, closing S$0.11 or 2.8 per cent up at S$4.08. 

Financials were among the main gainers on the blue-chip index. DBS Group Holdings was S$0.26 or 1 per cent up at S$26.91, OCBC Bank edged up three cents or 0.3 per cent to end at S$11.77 and United Overseas Bank finished at S$26.98, up S$0.18 or 0.7 per cent.

Among real estate investment trusts (Reits), Mapletree Industrial Trust units closed two cents or 0.9 per cent higher at S$2.27.

It reported Q1 earnings on Tuesday, where distribution per unit rose 3.3 per cent to 3.1 Singapore cents from three cents a year ago. Net property income for the three months ended June 30 rose 12.2 per cent to S$77.9 million.

Analysts were mostly positive on the Reit's outlook.

"We continue to favour Mapletree Industrial Trust for its positive growth fundamentals, as DPUs are supported by recovering leasing demand and growth visibility from a more resilient portfolio following its hi-tech asset investments and US diversification," Maybank Kim Eng analyst Chua Su Tye wrote in a report on Wednesday. The brokerage has maintained its "buy" recommendation with a target price of S$2.40.

While Jefferies Singapore analyst Krishna Guha noted that the leasing environment remains challenging, "Mapletree Industrial Trust is likely to maintain stable growth through selective repositioning of assets and data centre acquisitions aided by low gearing". He has maintained his "buy" call with a price target of S$2.50.

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