Bulls And Bears

S'pore bourse dips on US job data, UK election

But local property stocks shine as collective sale market picks up pace

Singapore stocks ended a tad lower, as sentiment was hit by a weak United States job report and uncertainty ahead of Britain's general election on Thursday after another terrorist attack.

The Straits Times Index closed 0.05 per cent or 1.7 points lower at 3,238.31, partly weighed down by StarHub, which lost 0.7 per cent or two cents to $2.71.

United Overseas Bank shed 0.7 per cent or 17 cents to $23.18, while City Developments fell 0.6 per cent or seven cents to $10.74.

But local property stocks saw a pickup in activity as the collective sale market shows more signs of heating up. The relaxation of property curbs in March also helped.

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Another positive for property counters was the weak May US job data, which raised questions over the likelihood of a third rate hike this year, even though the US Federal Reserve already stated its intention to normalise rates.

OCBC Investment Research maintained a buy rating on the property sector, saying it "expects more collective sales this year as developers move to replenish their landbanks, which for many are now at multi-year lows, given falling home prices since 2014".

"Eunosville is the fourth en bloc transaction to date, and brings the year-to-date total to $1.5 billion - past the $1 billion and $380 million annual totals seen in 2016 and 2015 respectively," it noted.

UOL Group jumped 2.5 per cent or 18 cents to $7.26; HongKong Land grew 1.3 per cent or 10 US cents to US$7.69.

Investors also piled into Far East Orchard, which jumped 3.6 per cent or 5.5 cents to $1.575. Wheelock Properties is up 3.3 per cent or six cents to $1.88. Wing Tai rose 1.3 per cent or 2.5 cents to $1.935.

But the rest of the index moved in a narrow range as investors were awaiting the outcome of Britain's election and the release of China's May export data, which will be a gauge of global demand.

Oil prices rose after reports that four Arab nations cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over the country's support for Islamist groups and its relations with Iran.

But tensions within the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries could potentially undermine an agreement to cut output, pressuring local oil and gas plays.

Keppel Corp fell 0.8 per cent or five cents to $6.45; Sembcorp Marine lost 0.9 per cent or 1.5 cents to $1.665; Loyz Energy shed 4.5 per cent or 0.1 cent to 2.1 cents.

Other hotly traded counters included Hanwell Holdings, which was queried by the Singapore Exchange on unusual price and volume movements after surging 14.1 per cent or 4.5 cents to 36.5 cents.

The company said it could not explain the trading activity.

Advanced Systems Automation was flat at 0.1 cent, with 87.3 million shares traded. Addvalue Tech was flat at 5.7 cents, with 38.8 million shares traded.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore bourse dips on US job data, UK election'. Print Edition | Subscribe