Singapore stock market declines in line with the rest of Asia

SINGAPORE - The local market joined the region-wide decline today after policy news announced in China over the weekend triggered a round of selling while caution over the United States economy also sets in.

The benchmark Straits Times Index closed 21.94 points or 0.62 per cent down at 3,503.25.

Last Friday, China's securities regulator clamped down on the hotly speculative market, which offset joy over the central bank's move on Sunday to cut reserve requirement ratio for banks.

With investors selling off against the uncertain backdrop, both Shanghai and Hong Kong went through a volatile trading day, dropping 1.64 per cent and 2.02 per cent respectively.

ComfortDelGro and Singapore Exchange stood out as the top performing blue chips at home, with the transport firm closing four cents or 1.33 per cent up at $3.04 while the local bourse gained five cents or 0.61 per cent to $8.31.

The two counters were among the top five most active STI stocks in the past 12 months, SGX said in its latest My Gateway report yesterday. Notably, the increase in ComfortDelgro's dividend adjusted total return for the period was the highest in the group at 51.4 per cent, followed by SGX's 23.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, Noble closed flat at 88.5 cents after Iceberg continued its attack on the commodity firm with an email today that criticised founder and chairman Richard Elman as not being forthcoming with shareholders during Noble's annual general meeting in Singapore last Friday.

On the other end of STI, Thai Beverage fell the most, dropping two cents or 2.53 per cent to 77 cents. Engineering sector also took some beating, as SIA Engineering dropped five cents or 1.2 per cent to $4.12. ST Engineering also closed three cents or 0.79 per cent down at $3.78.

SIIC Environment also saw a steep fall and was among the worst performing penny plays, having lost 1.5 cent or 6.38 per cent to close at 22 cents. The stock was hit by selling off after its surge in the past two weeks as part of the small and mid cap rally since mid March.