Bulls And Bears

STI edges lower amid weak oil prices

Dull trading in markets across Asia with expectations of further price retreat in crude

A tepid day of trading, following a soft lead from Wall Street and continued weakness in oil prices, left Singapore shares little changed.

The benchmark Straits Times Index ended the day just 6.08 points, or 0.19 per cent, lower at 3,209.47.

It was 21.97 points or 0.68 per cent lower for the week.

Oil prices edged up yesterday, but this did little to balance out months of sharp declines.

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Despite production cuts, major oil nations have not managed to sufficiently curb the market's oversupply, leading to the worst half-year for oil prices in almost 20 years.

"Asian markets are quite mixed but more on the downside from the continued weakness in oil prices, which remained below US$43 a barrel," Mr Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based Asiasec Equities, told Reuters.

"There are expectations that oil prices will continue to retreat in the near term," he noted.

Shares across the region were little changed too, with Hong Kong down just 0.02 per cent, Tokyo up 0.11 per cent and Shanghai up 0.33 per cent.

"The market is taking a pause at a relatively high level," said Mr Hao Hong, who is chief strategist at Bocom International Holdings in Hong Kong, in an interview with Bloomberg. "Investors need to watch for signs of economic slowdown, and see whether the (United States Federal Reserve) will adamantly carry on rate hikes."

Global Logistic Properties (GLP) was among the most hotly traded stocks at home, sliding 16 cents to $2.84 with 59.6 million shares done.

The company said yesterday that a special committee of independent directors is overseeing a strategic review undertaken by the firm, and that it has taken measures to alleviate potential conflicts of interest and ensure fairness of process.

It was reacting to a report in the Financial Times that stated potential bidders were dropping out of an auction for GLP properties, following concerns over a possible insider bid by a consortium led by company chief executive Ming Mei.

Secura Group shares rose 0.4 cent to 14.4 cents. The firm said on Thursday that its unit Soverus had been awarded a $3.15 million contract by a leading global semiconductor company. Soverus will provide security services for two of the company's purpose-built facilities in Singapore for two years.

IHH Healthcare shares gained a cent to reach $1.95. The company told Bursa Malaysia on Thursday that it is not close to concluding any negotiations, due diligence or transactions in India.

Its response followed a query related to an article in The Edge Financial Daily on Monday stating that IHH Healthcare was at an advanced stage of negotiations and due diligence to buy a controlling stake in Fortis Healthcare and SRL Diagnostics, two healthcare companies in India.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2017, with the headline 'STI edges lower amid weak oil prices'. Print Edition | Subscribe