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Singapore shares add 0.6% on Tuesday but trade, growth fears linger
A COMBINATION of investors moving to defensive plays and buying up oversold counters, and hopes that the US Federal Reserve would lower interest rates saw the local market get off to a positive but cautious start to June.
The Straits Times Index (STI) built on Monday's gains to close at 3,142.37, up 18.91 points or 0.6 per cent on Tuesday.
While the local market had some reprieve, trade and economic worries still dominate sentiment globally. The effects of trade tariffs between the US and China have already shown in weaker purchasing managers index (PMI) figures for May, an indicator that is often used to predict economic growth.
That said, CMC Markets' Margaret Yang noted that the "negative implications of weak manufacturing PMI readings across the region on Tuesday were cushioned by a weaker US dollar, which alleviated capital outflow from emerging markets".
Trading across the region was mixed. Australia posted gains while Japan ended flat. China, Hong Kong and Malaysia closed lower, as did South Korea, which registered slight losses after three sessions of gains on weak Q1 gross domestic product data.
In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 921.38 million securities, 85 per cent of the daily average in the first four months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.04 billion, 89 per cent above the January-to-April daily average.
Across the market, advancers outpaced decliners 210 to 152. The benchmark index had just six of its 30 components in the red.
Singtel was the benchmark index's most traded stock, with 21.5 million shares changing hands. It gained two Singapore cents or 0.6 per cent to S$3.21. The telco has continued to gain the attention of investors who are starting to turn to defensive counters.
The local banks ended higher. DBS Group Holdings added S$0.21 or 0.9 per cent to S$24.27, OCBC Bank gained four Singapore cents or 0.4 per cent to S$10.63, while United Overseas Bank (UOB) fared the best, ending at S$24.00, up S$0.41 or 1.7 per cent.
Market watchers noted that the trio - oversold in May - are now trading attractive valuations and undergoing a technical rebound. Of the three, UOB is the cheapest on a price-to-book basis and has the highest dividend yield.
Shares in construction firm Tiong Seng Holdings advanced two Singapore cents or 8.7 per cent to 25 cents after entering a deal to dispose its 55 per cent stake in Chinese unit Jiangsu Huiyang Construction Development for 67 million yuan (S$13.4 million).