Retail investors take a bigger bite of SGX pie

SINGAPORE - The recent bull charge on the local stock market has prompted many more retail investors to jump into the fray.

These investors have accounted for a much bigger slice of Singapore Exchange (SGX) action so far this year than usual.

Data released by SGX to The Straits Times showed retail involvement as a percentage of total daily turnover rose from about 40 per cent at the start of last year to as high as 60 per cent in recent weeks.

Said SGX head of sales and clients Chew Sutat: "As our market volumes have grown, retail participation has grown at a faster pace."

Average retail participation grew from 45 per cent in the first three months of last year to 50per cent this year up to the week ending March 22.

The daily average value of stocks traded has surged from $1.4 billion for the first quarter last year to around $1.7 billion for the same period this year, according to Bloomberg data.

Brokers have been seeing more brisk business from the retail segment.

OCBC Securities managing director Raymond Chee said trading volume for retail customers in the first three months was more than two times higher than the volume seen in the same period last year.

A DBS Vickers spokesman said: "We saw a healthy pick-up in trading activity among our retail clients in the first quarter of 2013, with turnover increasing by about a third compared to the same period last year."

Remisier Wang Han Hui said: "It's mainly due to the bullish market this year. Many retail investors have jumped onto the bandwagon after the correction in November."

Wealth experts mainly tip equities as the most promising asset class to invest in this year, ahead of bonds, property and gold. That is due to the flood of liquidity released by key central banks globally and the brighter global economic picture.

This has seen the Dow Jones Industrial Average index on Wall Street hitting an all-time high earlier last month.

At home, the Straits Times Index (STI) has surged 10 per cent in just over four months, and is now hovering at around 3,300 points.

And there could be further gains. DBS Group Research tips the STI to inch up gradually towards 3,450 points by end-June before hitting 3,600 by year end.

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