Bulls And Bears

Singapore shares drop as TPP hopes fade

STI down 27.33 points with Singtel leading the index lower; Ipco most actively traded counter

Singapore shares ended lower on a strong US dollar, lower oil prices and gloom here over the confirmation that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is doomed.

The Straits Times Index shed 0.97 per cent, or 27.33 points, to close at 2,787.27.

The 12-nation TPP - by far the biggest trade agreement in more than a decade - was meant to bind the United States and Asia-Pacific nations.

But both presidential candidates had disavowed the TPP and it finally died last Friday as Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress said they would not advance it in the election's aftermath.

"It's really ominous for trade- dependent Singapore, which is exposed to a potential slowdown in US and global trade," said a dealer.

But a silver lining remains - in the form of an emerging alternative - the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes China, Japan and 14 other Asian countries but excludes the US.

Singtel led the index lower, shedding 2.4 per cent, or nine cents, to $3.68. Other blue-chip losers included Jardine Matheson, which slipped 2.3 per cent, or US$1.33, to US$55.47; and Jardine Cycle & Carriage, which fell 3.5 per cent, or $1.39, to $38.86.

Other laggards included Thai Beverage, down 1.6 per cent, or 1.5 cents, to 91.5 cents; and CapitaLand, down 1.6 per cent, or five cents, to $3.

The most actively traded counter was investment holdings firm Ipco International, after an announcement that it would place out 1.06 billion new shares to private investors to raise about $1.86 million in net proceeds.

At 0.18 cent each, the placement share price is at a discount of about 10 per cent to the price on Nov 9. Ipco closed at 0.2 cent, with 331.9 million shares traded.

Ipco plans to use over half of the money raised for general corporate requirements including acquisition and funding of potential business opportunities. The rest will be for general working capital requirements.

Magnus Energy plunged 50 per cent, or 0.1 cent, to 0.1 cent, with 319.2 million shares traded. Noble Group dipped 1.5 per cent, or 0.3 cent, to 19.2 cents, with 139.3 million shares traded. LionGold was flat at 0.2 cent, with 95.7 million shares traded; while energy management firm Equation Corp lost 9.1 per cent, or 0.1 cent, to one cent, with 58.4 million shares traded.

Food Empire surged 30 per cent, or nine cents, to 39 cents, after it posted an improvement in its third- quarter net profit to US$5.8 million (S$8.2 million) from US$700,000 last year. The Singapore food and beverage maker cited more favourable exchange rates coupled with higher selling prices.

Shipbuilder Vard Holdings rose 6.5 per cent, or 1.5 cents, to 24.5 cents, with nearly 34 million shares traded. This after Italy's shipbuilding group Fincantieri Group said it will take Singapore-listed subsidiary Vard Holdings private at 24 cents per share.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore shares drop as TPP hopes fade'. Print Edition | Subscribe