S'pore shares dip again, erasing early gains

The New Year rally in the local market picked up pace yesterday and put the benchmark Straits Times Index within striking distance of a 12-month high.
The New Year rally in the local market picked up pace yesterday and put the benchmark Straits Times Index within striking distance of a 12-month high.PHOTO: ST FILE

Positive outlook for US economy eclipsed by worries over capital outflow from the region

Singapore equities again finished weaker yesterday despite starting the day on a strong note.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) fell 9.61 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 2,901.7, reversing its gains in the last hour of trading.

A total of 1.37 billion shares worth $789.4 million changed hands.

The earlier gains were largely due to Wall Street's overnight performance, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.46 per cent to clock a record high as investors looked forward to promising growth in the US economy.

Sentiment was also helped by oil prices, which inched above US$55 a barrel. But all of this was capped by worries over capital outflows from the region, given the strengthening US dollar and traders' preparations to wind down for the holidays.

There were eight gainers among the 30 STI constituents, with 18 losers and four unchanged.

The local banks fared well, led by DBS Group Holdings as it rebounded from the previous day's fall to finish seven cents, or 0.4 per cent, higher at $17.62, while OCBC Bank climbed two cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $9.06.

United Overseas Bank bucked the trend, sliding 16 cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $20.70.

Both DBS and OCBC helped prop up the STI despite the drag from telco Singtel, which fell three cents, or 0.8 per cent, to $3.64.

Palm oil giant Golden Agri-Resources also clocked heavy losses, sinking 1.5 cents, or 3.4 per cent, to 43 cents.

Transport group ComfortDelGro was flat at 25.5 cents, after announcing before the markets opened that it has entered into a deal with Cabcharge Australia to acquire the remaining 49 per cent stake in ComfortDelGro Cabcharge for A$186 million (S$195 million).

Outside of the index, Catalist-listed Trendlines Group grew 0.2 cent, or 1.3 per cent, to 15.2 cents. The Israeli investment firm said it will join B Braun to invest in a platform to develop early-stage healthcare companies here and in the region.

Spackman Entertainment Group was the day's most hotly traded, rising 0.3 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to 19.6 cents on 107 million shares done.

Other active counters were Noble Group, which edged up 0.1 cent, or 0.6 per cent, to 16.3 cents, and QT Vascular, which remained flat at eight cents.

Meanwhile, other markets in the region also climbed yesterday despite fears over a series of terrorist attacks in Europe on Monday.

Shanghai advanced 1.11 per cent, Hong Kong added 0.37 per cent, while Sydney rose 0.4 per cent.

Tokyo slid 0.26 per cent as traders moved to lock in profits after the Bank of Japan said on Tuesday it will stand put on monetary policy.

"Investors have become so fast in digesting bad news, and this explains the resilience in financial markets," said Mr Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a Reuters report.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 22, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore shares dip again, erasing early gains'. Print Edition | Subscribe