Bulls And Bears

STI eases on Brexit, Trump concerns

Traders waiting for British PM's speech, after Asian market hours, for details on leaving EU

The local market recorded a marginal decline yesterday, amid a mixed showing from regional bourses.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) edged down by a sliver - just 0.35 point or 0.01 per cent to 3,012.77.

Overall trading was lukewarm, with only $724.6 million worth of shares changing hands.

Shanghai rose 0.17 per cent and Hong Kong added 0.54 per cent. But Tokyo pared 1.48 per cent and Sydney slid 0.85 per cent.

Investors awaited a speech by British Prime Minister Theresa May, after Asian market hours, for details on Brexit's implementation.

Mr Donald Trump's inauguration as the United States president on Friday is also distracting the market, remisier Alvin Yong said.

"But the STI has had a good run-up recently, and it's natural that some profit-taking will happen. The index will likely remain range-bound in the coming days, but I believe a broad uptrend is still intact," he added.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the top loser among the 12 STI stocks that fell. It shed 1.5 cents or 1.81 per cent to 81.5 cents, on 13.2 million shares traded.

ComfortDelGro eased four cents or 1.61 per cent to $2.45. Keppel Corp slid seven cents or 1.15 per cent to $6.04 and Sembcorp Industries lost two cents or 0.65 per cent to $3.06 even as crude oil benchmark Brent futures climbed above US$56 a barrel following Saudi Arabia's pledge to cut production.

Outside the STI, Sembcorp Marine slipped two cents or 1.34 per cent to $1.47, and Ezion Holdings pared half a cent or 1.2 per cent to 41 cents on turnover of 22 million shares.

Of the 14 STI stocks that rose, Hongkong Land gained the most, jumping 17 US cents or 2.51 per cent to US$6.95.

Some of the benchmark Reits also did well. Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust rose three cents or 1.25 per cent to $2.43, CapitaLand Commercial Trust added 1.5 cents or 0.97 per cent to $1.565.

Income-oriented investors often seek property trusts for their stability, particularly during uncertain times.

Samurai 2K Aerosol, which made its trading debut on Catalist on Monday, ended the session half a cent lower at 24 cents but still 20 per cent above its offer price. Samurai 2K is a Malaysia-based aerosol coating specialist with a focus on high-performance coating solutions for the automotive refinishing industry.

CNMC Goldmine - one of the few local stock choices with exposure to gold - added 1.5 cents or 3.61 per cent to 43 cents, despite a Friday announcement warning of a fourth- quarter net loss due partly to unrealised foreign exchange losses.

DBS analyst Paul Yong believes the loss would be only a "blip", and the company's earnings outlook will remain positive this year. He gave CNMC Goldmine a buy call, with a target price of 65 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'STI eases on Brexit, Trump concerns'. Print Edition | Subscribe