Bulls And Bears

STI down as investors wait for clarity

Uncertainty over US job figures out last night and upcoming China data dampens trading

Singapore shares slipped yesterday as Asian markets went through a mixed day ahead of the United States job data announcement late last night.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) shed 3.79 points or 0.13 per cent to 2,828.17, leaving it down 1.41 per cent for the week as local sentiment continued to cool after the recent rally.

There were 1.19 billion shares worth $1.07 billion transacted.

Elsewhere in the region, Hong Kong rose 1.44 per cent but Shanghai was down 0.19 per cent and Tokyo closed flat.

Asian investors had a lukewarm response to the Bank of England's announcement on Thursday of monetary easing, which sent London's FTSE 100 up 1.6 per cent overnight.

But uncertainty around July job figures in the US and the slew of data set to be released in China next week left some investors in Singapore waiting on the sidelines.

As a result, 14 of the 30 component stocks on the STI closed lower.

Genting Singapore shed four cents or 5.03 per cent to 75.5 cents, a day after the gaming company reported a net loss of $10.5 million.

Still, DBS analyst Mervin Song gave Genting a buy call with a target price of 91 cents.

"Following two tough years, we believe now is the opportune time to buy into a highly cash generative business in a two-player oligopoly. We believe 2017 will mark a recovery in earnings," Mr Song said.

Among banks, DBS Group closed down 21 cents or 1.4 per cent at $14.83, ahead of its results announcement on Monday, when the management is expected to face tough questions on its exposure to Swiber Holdings and the overall quality of its oil and gas loan book.

United Overseas Bank was also down, dropping three cents or 0.17 per cent to $17.93, while OCBC closed flat at $8.31.

Keppel Corp closed down seven cents or 1.33 per cent at $5.20, and Sembcorp Marine was off one cent or 0.75 per cent at $1.325. The duo slipped despite some recovery in crude benchmark Brent futures, which traded at around US$44 a barrel yesterday.

Among the 13 gainers on the STI, Hongkong Land Holdings rose the most, adding 17 US cents or 2.78 per cent to US$6.29, followed by Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which closed up one US cent or 2.22 per cent at 46 US cents.

Sats gained seven cents or 1.54 per cent to $4.61, and Singapore Airlines rose 13 cents or 1.24 per cent to $10.65.

Outside the STI, Noble Group put on 0.9 cent or 6.21 per cent to 15.4 cents, while medical tech firm QT Vascular shed 0.3 cent or 3.85 per cent to 7.5 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'STI down as investors wait for clarity'. Print Edition | Subscribe