Bulls And Bears

S'pore shares slide back into the red

All three local banks chalk up losses as STI eases 0.76%, in line with bourses in Asia

Local shares fell back into the red yesterday, along with those in most other markets in Asia.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slid 23.41 points, or 0.76 per cent, to 3,044.08. Some 2.53 billion shares worth $1.11 billion were traded across the bourse.

Tokyo led declines with a 1.22 per cent drop, while Seoul eased 0.46 per cent and Hong Kong retreated 0.57 per cent. Shanghai remained closed for the Chinese New Year holiday.

Wall Street was little changed on Wednesday, inching up just 0.14 per cent. The United States dollar slumped after the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged.

"The Trump administration's protectionist rhetoric and divisive political approach have raised concerns the anticipated fiscal stimulus measures could be derailed," said Mr Elias Haddad, senior currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, in a Bloomberg report. "The dollar will continue to trade on the defensive in the near term."

With the US dollar index taking a pause, the STI is also facing headwinds in its push for higher ground, said Mr Nicholas Teo, trading strategist at KGI Securities (Singapore).

"Aside from external influences ... the STI may need further impetus for it to move another leg forward," said Mr Teo, noting that strong corporate earnings over the next two weeks could help support the index.

"Positive earnings or guidance would be a welcome surprise and could offer a boost beyond current resistances. Conversely, a deeper pullback in stock prices may result from negative news flow."

All three local banks, which are due to report earnings later this month, clocked losses. United Overseas Bank fell 35 cents or 1.7 per cent to $20.63, DBS Group Holdings lost 10 cents or 0.5 per cent to $18.78, and OCBC Bank eased three cents or 0.3 per cent to $9.45.

Maybank Kim Eng said in a report it maintains its "negative" view on the banks, as the overall outlook is likely to remain challenging. "Aside from oil and gas, SMEs are more likely to show weakness in asset quality in a prolonged downturn. Our view is that Singapore banks are likely to report higher provisions to cover rising non-performing loans."

Global Logistic Properties added one cent or 0.4 per cent to $2.59, after it said it had bought 448,000 sq ft of distribution facilities in Chicago for US$33 million (S$46.5 million).

Water-treatment firm Moya Holdings Asia, in response to a Singapore Exchange query, announced yesterday it is "considering a potential acquisition of a company which is in a similar business". The stock rose 0.2 cent or 3.2 per cent to 6.4 cents after its trading halt was lifted.

HC Surgical Specialists, which has proposed to acquire 51 per cent of a Singapore-based endoscopy clinic for $2.175 million, put on one cent or 1.7 per cent to 61 cents.

Equation Summit was the day's most heavily traded counter, jumping 0.3 cent or 10.7 per cent to 3.1 cents on 247.4 million shares done.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore shares slide back into the red '. Print Edition | Subscribe