Singapore Stocks-Property counters down at midday but upside seen
SINGAPORE, Feb 8 — Singapore-listed property counters fell by midday today on concerns about more cooling measures in China to rein in stubbornly high housing prices, but traders said the broader Straits Times Index may have some upside in the afternoon.
At midday, shares of CapitaLand were down 0.6 per cent, Keppel Land retreated 0.9 per cent and Yanlord Land dipped 1.9 per cent.
“In general, most people would not want to put their money into property counters in the short term, given that there are still policy issues hanging not just in China, but also Singapore,” said Wilson Liew, an analyst at Kim Eng.
“The Chinese government is fighting a war against an influx of liquidity and so far the policies do not seem to be that effective in bringing down prices,” he said.
But Liew noted that housing prices in lower-tier cities outside the big ones like Shanghai and Beijing are still relatively affordable.
Bank of China Ltd and four other major state lenders will end preferential mortgage rates for first-time homebuyers in the southern boomtown of Shenzhen, a China newspaper said.
The move came after the cities of Shanghai and Chongqing introduced China’s first-ever property tax for home buyers late last month.
By the midday break, the Straits Times Index (STI) was down 0.22 per cent, or 6.87 points, at 3,185.31. The total value of shares traded in the morning session was S$729.4 million (RM1.75 billion), lower than S$844.5 million yesterday.
In comparison, merger activity drove the Dow and S&P 500 to two-and-a-half-year highs yesterday and there may be further gains ahead.
“What we have been seeing is a rotation of money out of Asia and back into the US,” said Phua Ming-Weii, an analyst at Phillip Securities.
“Broadly, for the emerging markets in Asia we are seeing high inflation, stronger currencies over the past year, whereas in the US’ we are seeing improving numbers,” he added.
A steady flow of upbeat US economic data helped draw investor attention toward equities in the country, resulting in a net inflow of US$4.1 billion, data from Lipper showed last Thursday.
In Singapore, shares of palm oil firm Wilmar International outperformed the broader market, rising as much as 1.7 per cent. At midday, Wilmar shares were up 1.5 per cent at S$5.51 on a volume of 6.1 million shares.
Wilmar said its proposed acquisition of Benso Oil Palm Plantation, which produces palm oil and palm kernel oil, has been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Ghana.
The Indonesian government also said that Wilmar will invest US$900 million to build palm oil products factories in the country.
“The Ghana approval and the news on Indonesia could be the share price catalysts, and people might be choosing some laggards,” said a local trader. — Reuters