Bulls And Bears

Singapore shares continue to head south

Singapore shares extended their losing streak since the start of the week. The benchmark Straits Times Index slid 19.66 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 2,882.04.
Singapore shares extended their losing streak since the start of the week. The benchmark Straits Times Index slid 19.66 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 2,882.04.PHOTO: REUTERS

Oil and gas-related counters slide, following fall in crude prices as supplies rise

Most Asian stock markets beat a retreat yesterday, following losses in the United States and lower crude prices.

Singapore shares extended their losing streak since the start of the week. The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slid 19.66 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 2,882.04.

Elsewhere, Tokyo pared 0.09 per cent, Hong Kong fell 0.8 per cent and Jakarta dropped 1.34 per cent.

Shanghai was an outlier, inching up 0.07 per cent.

Wall Street eased 0.16 per cent overnight as oil prices fell on an unexpected increase in US crude supplies.

"Moderate losses on Wall Street, underpinned by the fall in oil prices, are providing little inspiration for Asian markets today," Ms Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG, told Bloomberg yesterday. "Thin volumes are also providing little momentum for trade into the end of the year."

The drop in crude prices weighed heavily on oil and gas-related plays. Rig-builder Sembcorp Marine sank 5.5 cents, or 3.9 per cent, to $1.365, while parent company Sembcorp Industries lost five cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $2.87.

Keppel Corporation slipped seven cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $5.83. This was despite news that its unit Keppel Infrastructure Holdings has been named the preferred bidder by national water agency PUB to build and operate Singapore's fourth desalination plant for a concession period of 25 years.

Maybank Kim Eng analyst Yeak Chee Keong said in a report yesterday that while the recent production cut by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has been driving a rally in offshore and marine stocks, 2017 "may still not be an easy year".

"The Singapore oil services sector is dominated by shipyards and offshore support vessel owners, which are plagued by severe asset oversupply," he noted. "In our view, utilisation improvements (if any) from better oil price sentiment may not be fast enough before some players run out of cash."

Other laggards included all three local banks. United Overseas Bank fell 28 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $20.42, DBS Group Holdings lost 23 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $17.39, and OCBC Bank slipped seven cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $8.99.

Satellite broadcast solutions maker Global Invacom Group plummeted by 1.9 cents, or 11.9 per cent, to 14.1 cents after issuing a profit warning in the morning.

The group said it expects to report a net loss for the financial year ending Dec 31, primarily due to consolidation of its manufacturing operations in China, as announced last month.

Spackman Entertainment Group remained the day's top active, sliding 0.7 cent, or 3.6 per cent, to 18.9 cents on 71.2 million shares done.

Turnover across the bourse came to 1.28 billion shares worth $757.6 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore shares continue to head south'. Print Edition | Subscribe