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Singapore shares rise 0.1% on Wednesday

JUDGING from Singapore's non-oil domestic exports reading for June, the global tech manufacturing slowdown continues to weigh heavily on the performance of the economy. But on Wednesday, investors appeared mostly unfazed with the local benchmark, which was little moved for most of the day.

Thanks to a late bump-up, the Straits Times Index (STI) closed 4.84 points or 0.14 per cent higher at 3,364.87.

Non-oil domestic exports fell 17.3 per cent year-on-year in June, extending a quarter of double-digit losses. June's figure was more than the Bloomberg consensus median estimate of a 9.6 per cent contraction, and follows on from last Friday's disappointing advanced estimate for Q2 economic growth, which clocked in at 0.1 per cent year-on-year.

Trading volume clocked in at 1.04 billion securities, 87 per cent of daily average in the first six months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.05 billion, in line with the January-to-June daily average. Across the broader market, decliners beat advancers 199 to 191. The benchmark index had 12 of the STI's 30 components in the red.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which fell S$0.02 or 1.3 per cent to S$1.50, was the benchmark index's most active counter on 29.5 million shares changing hands. On Tuesday after market close, the shipbuilder revealed that it took up a 55 per cent stake in Odfjell Terminal (Jiangyin) for US$46.2 million, funded by internal resources.

With earnings for Singapore real estate investment trusts (Reits) underway, STI constituent CapitaLand Commercial Trust (S$0.01 or 0.5 per cent down at S$2.17 on a cum-dividend basis) on Wednesday morning posted a 0.8 per cent increase in net property income for the quarter ended June 30 to S$78.4 million. Q2 distribution per unit is up 1.9 per cent to 2.2 cents, thanks to higher revenue from its properties.

The Reit also said that it will acquire a 94.9 per cent interest in a freehold office building in Frankfurt from its sponsor CapitaLand and Lum Chang Holdings for 133.4 million euros (S$205.3 million).

There was a flurry of activity towards the end of Wednesday's session on the Sembcorp Marine counter, which surged 7.1 per cent between 4pm and 4.20pm, more than any full-day gain since Dec 3, 2018. The counter eventually closed at S$0.11 or 7.9 per cent up at S$1.51 on 21.3 million shares traded, of which just 1.1 million were exchanged before 4pm. 

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, markets were mostly lower due to fading optimism surrounding US-China trade talks. China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea all finished lower. However, Australia bucked the trend, thanks to a lift from mining firms and financials on the ASX 200.