Friday, December 24, 2010

Trading value dips below $1b mark again

MANY investors in Singapore were too busy decking the halls with holly and brushing off their Santa Claus suits yesterday to make any moves in the market.

With many fund managers already on holiday, both the volume and value of shares traded dipped below the one billion mark for the second time this week.

After trading in a narrow range, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) finished the day down 6.53 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 3,137.78.

Just 824.9 million shares worth $728.8 million changed hands, comparable to Tuesday's insipid turnover of 801.5 million shares valued at $834.7 million.

Shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell more sharply than those in Singapore, after the Chinese government stepped up scrutiny of real estate investments to curb rising housing property prices.

Hong Kong dropped 0.62 per cent while Shanghai sank 0.79 per cent. Tokyo's stock market was closed for a holiday yesterday.

In Singapore, seven of the STI component stocks rose, 17 fell and six remained unchanged.

Genting Singapore was once again the most actively traded stock, rising two cents to $2.12 on 29.1 million shares. The Asian gaming firm has been one of the most hotly traded stocks this year, hitting a high of $2.35 on Nov 9, just before releasing its third-quarter results.

Commodity players also continued to show high liquidity, as palm oil prices advanced for a fourth day on speculation that China, the top cooking oil user, and other emerging markets will fuel demand for farm commodities next year.

Golden Agri-Resources was unchanged at 76 cents after 17.7 million shares swopped hands. Noble Group slipped three cents to $2.08 on 9.4 million shares traded. Olam International slid one cent to $3.08, on a modest turnover of 1.7 million shares.

Wilmar International continued to be punished on the back of news that it is investing around 889.2 million yuan (S$175.1 million) in property joint ventures in China. The stock dropped three cents to $5.59.

Global Logistic Properties slid two cents to $2.16, after the firm announced that it was acquiring a stake in a Chinese logistics firm - its first acquisition since its initial public offering in October.

Citigroup is upbeat on the move, reiterating its 'buy' call on the stock.

'We believe their cooperation should help the combined group dominate?their market share in China,' Citigroup wrote in a report.?

UOL too fell on some acquisition-related news. The property developer lost eight cents to $4.54 on news that the firm had increased its stake in UIC to 42 per cent from 32 per cent, making it the largest shareholder in the office landlord.

UIC rose two cents to $2.43.

Fuxing China went up half a cent to 15.5 cents, after announcing that it was acquiring three companies involved in making zippers.

DMG & Partners Securities views the move positively, saying in a report that this would allow the firm to offer greater customisation to clients in terms of zipper design and turnaround time.

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