Bulls And Bears

Lacklustre local bourse slides for third day

Oil and gas-related counters perform poorly as crude prices stay under pressure

Singapore equities continued their downhill ride for the third day on a lack of positive cues.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) shed 7.8 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 2,820.59. Turnover across the bourse was a lacklustre 876.8 million units worth $925.2 million.

"The market has been rather quiet. In fact, it has not been moving much for six months already," said Ms Margaret Yang, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore, noting that liquidity is a bigger issue here than in other markets in the region.

The downbeat sentiment mirrored that of Wall Street, which lost 0.26 per cent overnight as the US dollar rose on rate hike worries.

Among the blue chips, Singtel was a big drag on the STI, dropping eight cents or 2 per cent to $4.02 as profit-takers made their move. Airport services firm Sats lost ground for the third straight day, sliding 15 cents or 3.1 per cent to $4.71.

Much of the focus was on oil- and gas-related plays, which fared poorly as crude prices stayed under pressure amid a rising US dollar.

Rig-builder Sembcorp Marine fell two cents or 1.5 per cent to $1.275, while Keppel Corporation slipped five cents or 1 per cent to $5.18.

Smaller counters such as Ezion Holdings also took a hit, slumping 1.5 cents or 6.4 per cent to 22 cents.

The oilfield services company on Monday said it has adjusted its second-quarter earnings lower by US$11.7 million (S$16 million), after an associate company made additional impairment.

Other notable movements included China-based food and beverage maker Sino Grandness Food Industry Group, which tumbled three cents or 5.8 per cent to 48.5 cents after a substantial shareholder, Soleado Holdings, sold 1.7 million shares in the firm at 52.5526 cents each.

"Maybe it's profit-taking before the end of the month. After all, they did some open market purchases at lower prices in the year before," said a dealer in a NetResearch report.

Commodity trader Noble Group was the day's most active, sliding 0.4 cent or 3.3 per cent to 11.9 cents on 113.5 million shares done.

The combined market capitalisation on the STI last month was $859.95 billion, down 0.06 per cent from $860.43 billion in July.

Elsewhere, most markets in Asia were little changed. Shanghai climbed 0.35 per cent while Hong Kong dipped 0.17 per cent.

Tokyo, notably, rose 0.97 per cent, boosted by a weaker yen on growing bets for higher interest rates in the United States.

"We're in for a few days of very sluggish trading unless there's an unanticipated news event," Mr Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel, told Bloomberg.

"The market will focus on Friday's job number and think about the interest rate outlook," he said, referring to the US non-farm payroll data.

"A good, strong jobs number, as we've had the last few months, probably gives the Fed room to move, which I think they really want to do."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2016, with the headline 'Lacklustre local bourse slides for third day'. Print Edition | Subscribe