Asia markets down as momentum wanes, STI closes 6 points lower

The Straits Times Index (STI) dipped 5.88 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 3,342.92.
The Straits Times Index (STI) dipped 5.88 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 3,342.92.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Markets in Asia, including Singapore, beat a retreat on Thursday (Aug 3), as the positive momentum enjoyed since the start of the week waned.

Seoul took the heaviest hit with a 1.68 per cent drop as the South Korean government unveiled plans to raise taxes on large corporations, while at home, the Straits Times Index (STI) dipped 5.88 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 3,342.92.

Overall trade here came up to 1.42 billion shares worth S$1.09 billion.

Shanghai dropped 0.37 per cent, Hong Kong sank 0.28 per cent and Tokyo was down by 0.25 per cent.

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The sell-off in Asia comes on the back of a mixed showing overnight at Wall Street: both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq finished flat even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.24 per cent to reach a record high.

Much of the weakness on the STI came from the local banks, which all finished in the red. OCBC Bank lost 1 per cent or 11 cents to S$11.32, DBS Group Holdings pared 0.5 per cent or 11 cents to S$22.08, while United Overseas Bank shed 0.04 per cent or one cent to S$24.31.

Golden Agri-Resources was one of the biggest laggards, dropping 2.5 per cent or one cent to 39 cents, along with StarHub, down 1.1 per cent or three cents to S$2.67.

CIMB said that the group's second-quarter results - in which net profit 21 per cent to $85.7 million - was in line with expectations, as it expects weaker earnings in the second half of this year due to higher handset subsidies. The broker kept a "reduce" call on the stock.

Outside of the index, BreadTalk Group sank 3.9 per cent or seven cents to S$1.725, despite reporting on Wednesday a 61.9 per cent jump in net profit for the second quarter to S$2.11 million.