Bulls And Bears

STI ends lower with profit-taking by investors

It dips 0.38%, with bank shares leading fall, ahead of speeches by heads of US Fed, ECB

Singapore shares ended lower as investors took profit ahead of keenly watched speeches by Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen and European Central Bank president Mario Draghi at a central bankers' meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The Straits Times Index shed 0.38 per cent, or 12.59 points, to close at 3,259.57 - a gain of 0.2 per cent for the week.

Banks led the decline, followed by ComfortDelGro - down 1.7 per cent, or four cents, to $2.28 - and City Developments, which eased 1 per cent, or 11 cents, to $11.38.

United Overseas Bank shed 0.7 per cent, or 17 cents, to $23.59, OCBC Bank dipped 0.5 per cent, or five cents, to $10.98 and DBS Group edged down 0.2 per cent, or five cents, to $20.43.

Dr Yellen was due to have spoken at 10pm Singapore time last night, while Mr Draghi was scheduled to speak at 3am Singapore time today. Investors are looking to Dr Yellen for clues on the next US interest rate hike and to Mr Draghi for plans to cut back easing.

Local semiconductor-linked stocks lost ground despite better- than-forecast industrial production growth last month. Singapore's industrial production grew at its fastest pace in seven months from a year earlier, helped by higher output of electronics and precision engineering products.

Venture Corp dropped 2.8 per cent, or 43 cents, to $15.06; UMS Holdings fell 1 per cent, or one cent, to 95.5 cents; Valuetronics shed 3.2 per cent, or three cents, to 91 cents; Hi-P International lost 1.4 per cent, or two cents, to $1.46.

Property and retail group Wing Tai gained 2 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $2.15 after its fourth-quarter net profit of $9.49 million outdid forecasts. It proposed a 3-cent gross dividend with a special dividend of 3 cents, similar to the same period last year. CIMB maintained an add call, noting the group recently acquired a land parcel in Serangoon, jointly with Keppel Land, which can house around 600 units. "This will further boost income visibility in Singapore when launched," the broker said.

Among the most active counters was Blumont Group, which jumped 100 per cent, or 0.1 cent, to 0.2 cent, on volume of 115.2 million shares after it received a mandatory takeover bid from Malaysian businessman Siaw Lu How at 0.0182 cent a share. Ultimate Horizon, a vehicle owned by Mr Siaw, acquired a 69.56 per cent stake in Blumont for $4 million.

Shares of beauty and wellness firm Mary Chia skyrocketed 64 per cent, or 4.3 cents, to 11 cents after it received a mandatory cash takeover bid from Suki Sushi at 11.1 cents per share. The offeror, which operates Japanese and fusion-concept cuisine restaurants in Singapore, paid $11 million for Madam Chia's 60.98 per cent stake.

Thakral Corp jumped 13.7 per cent, or seven cents, to 58 cents, on news that it has accepted a successful bid of HK$420 million (S$73 million) for its warehouse properties in Hong Kong.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2017, with the headline 'STI ends lower with profit-taking by investors'. Print Edition | Subscribe