Exiting investors stampede across Asian markets, STI sinks 56 points

Pedestrians walk past an electronic display showing the Hang Seng Index figure in Hong Kong, China, on July 8, 2015.
Pedestrians walk past an electronic display showing the Hang Seng Index figure in Hong Kong, China, on July 8, 2015.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Markets across Asia were infected to various degrees with the panic that flooded Chinese markets again yesterday.

Mainland investors kept stampeding for the exit, as the massive sell-off of the past three weeks appeared to reach a head, despite government efforts to calm the market.

The continuing standoff over the Greek debt crisis simply added more volatility to Asian trading.

Shanghai's Composite Index plunged 5.9 per cent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slumped 5.84 per cent and Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbled 3.14 per cent.

At home, the Straits Times Index sank deep below the 3,300-point mark, shedding 55.94 points, or 1.67 per cent, to close at 3,284.99.

CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo said the rampant selldown in China is a classic "capitulation stage action" - seen as a bubble bursts.

Among the worst-performing blue chips yesterday was United Overseas Bank, which shed 45 cents to S$22.93.

Commodities trader Noble Group, which announced a S$4.59 million share buyback, also dropped two cents to 69.5 cents.

Olam International and Golden-Agri Resources tumbled for the third straight day with Olam down five cents to S$1.82 and Golden-Agri off one cent to 39 cents.

OCBC Investment Research analyst Carey Wong said in a report that the global picture for commodities does not bode well, stoked in part by the strengthening United States dollar.

Public transport operator SMRT slipped four cents to S$1.505, following a train disruption that involved two major train lines on Tuesday.

Nightclub operator Lifebrandz was the most actively traded, stock with 85.8 million shares changing hands. The stock slumped 0.2 cents to 0.6 cents.

The company announced on Tuesday that it is looking at a "very substantial acquisition or reverse takeover", although no definitive agreements have been reached.

On Wall Street, sentiment perked up slightly on Tuesday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Index inched up 0.53 per cent.

An ABN-Amro report noted that sentiment seems to have improved, given the more constructive atmosphere from the European meetings on Greece's debt situation.

"However, the hard part lies ahead," it added. "Negotiations will be tough and may not succeed."

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg