Bulls And Bears

STI ends lower amid mixed Asian markets

It slips alongside Jakarta, Bangkok even as HK, Tokyo rise on optimism over greenback

Local equities yesterday suffered their third straight session of decline, with the benchmark Straits Times Index dipping by 5.85 points, or 0.18 per cent, to close at 3,320.67.

The day's strongest performers included electronics provider Venture Corp, which last week posted a 61 per cent year-on-year jump in net profit. Its shares jumped by 7.5 per cent, or $1.04, to close at $14.89.

But of the three local banks, only United Overseas Bank ended higher, adding 22 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to close at $24.25.

DBS Group was the day's biggest loser, shedding 34 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $21.15. Last Friday, it posted an 8 per cent rise in net profit to $1.14 billion, but spooked investors with a mention of asset quality pressures.

RHB analyst Leng Seng Choon had maintained a neutral call, but raised the target price slightly, from $20.50 to $20.65. The lack of sequential widening in net interest margin was, he said, "disappointing".

Meanwhile, OCBC Bank dropped 10 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $11.11.

Genting Singapore, which last week bounced back into the black with a net profit of $143.3 million, suffered a one-cent decline to close 0.84 per cent lower at $1.18.

The casino operator's better- than-expected performance had previously prompted Maybank Kim Eng analyst Yin Shao Yang to raise the target price from $1.25 to $1.35 with a buy recommendation.

The Singapore bourse fell in Asia, alongside Thailand and Indonesia.

The Hong Kong and Tokyo markets rose on optimism over the stronger US dollar. A softer yen gave Japanese exports a boost, even as earnings news was cheery in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Good news on the United States jobs front last Friday has pushed up the greenback, which made recoveries against the yen and the euro.

CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang noted: "Investors' confidence was boosted by the jobs data, and US indices finished broadly higher. Separately, the robust earnings season remains a key driver of the stock markets these days."

But whether the greenback's rally has momentum remains to be seen.

Singapore-based IG analyst Pan Jingyi wrote in a morning note: "Much of the debate had been on whether we had just witnessed the commencement of a US dollar reversal, though the jury's likely out until we gain insights into this week's inflation updates, one that the Fed has seen greater hurdles in meeting their target."

US President Donald Trump remains mired in political upheaval, as questions swirl over probes into foreign interference. Falling oil prices could pose another obstacle as observers wring their hands over high output and Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' exports.

All eyes will be on China today , as the world's second-largest economy is set to announce its trade numbers. China is expected to report an 11 per cent year-on-year jump in exports for last month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2017, with the headline 'STI ends lower amid mixed Asian markets'. Print Edition | Subscribe