Bulls And Bears

STI down on profit-taking, Wall St losses

Traders keep to sidelines; market dampened by property counters and Thai Beverage

Local shares followed Wall Street down yesterday as traders locked in gains ahead of the weekend and before United States Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen's speech last night.

The market has priced in a 25-basis point interest rate hike this month after better numbers on the US jobs market indicated further improvement in the economy.

The Straits Times Index lost 0.45 per cent or 14.14 points yesterday to close at 3,122.34, but ended the week up 0.2 per cent.

Property counters dragged the market down, with CapitaLand slipping 3.3 per cent or 12 cents to $3.53 and City Developments down 2.1 per cent or 20 cents to $9.54.

Hongkong Land fell 2.6 per cent or 18 US cents to US$6.84 after full-year earnings came in below forecasts.

But DBS Group Research gave the property developer a buy call, calling it a "bargain".

The market was also hit by Thai Beverage, which lost 2.1 per cent or two cents to 93.5 cents, and Sats, off 1.4 per cent or seven cents to $5.

Ezra Holdings resumed trading after a three-day halt but hit a new low of 1.5 cents after plunging 21.1 per cent or 0.4 cent as investors capitulated on "going concern" fears.

More than 125 million shares changed hands, making it the most actively traded counter yesterday.

But fellow oil and gas play Sembcorp Marine enjoyed a deluge of buy orders, reportedly from foreign funds, and ended up 4.9 per cent or 9.5 cents to $2.03.

"The sudden large buy orders that came in probably caught some shorts off guard, which sparked a quick upward surge," a dealer said.

Other actively traded pennies included Noble Group, which rebounded 4.7 per cent or one cent to 22.5 cents, with 110.4 million shares traded.

Indonesian coal mining firm BlackGold Natural Resources dipped 1 per cent or 0.1 cent to 9.6 cents, with 73.9 million shares traded, while Spackman Entertainment lost 2.3 per cent or 0.4 cent to 17 cents, with 55.2 million shares traded.

Chinese shipbuilder Yangzijiang continued its ascent, gaining 6.9 per cent or seven cents to $1.09, with 44.4 million shares traded.

Plastic mould specialist Fu Yu Corp jumped 7.3 per cent or 1.5 cents to 22 cents after DBS Group Research issued a note, citing its 7.2 per cent yield and the possibility of it being a potential privatisation or takeover target.

Cordlife soared 12.5 per cent or 12 cents to $1.08, triggering a query on unusual price movement from the Singapore Exchange.

The company said it is "constantly reviewing corporate-development opportunities" and is "in discussions with various parties".

Last month, it said it had signed an agreement with Vietnam's IPS Trading and Service Joint Stock Co to offer cord blood and tissue banking services in Vietnam.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'STI down on profit-taking, Wall St losses'. Print Edition | Subscribe