STI steers away from optimism on Greece, closes 3 points down

 Despite its strong start at 3,354.82 on Thursday, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) quickly lost ground and lingered around 3,330 for much of the day.
Despite its strong start at 3,354.82 on Thursday, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) quickly lost ground and lingered around 3,330 for much of the day.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Local stocks were flat following their multi-day recovery amid uncertainties around the Greek debt crisis. Optimism among investors that Greece will still remain in the Eurozone sent several global markets up, but Singapore market did not take the cue this time.

Despite its strong start at 3,354.82 on Thursday, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) quickly lost ground and lingered around 3,330 for much of the day. It closed 3.3 points or 0.10 per cent down at 3,327.84.

A slow session Thursday underlined the cautious sentiments among investors, as only 890.3 million shares were traded on the Singapore Exchange. Aside from Greece, the market is likely to be keeping a wary eye on the upcoming employment data which the United States will announce on Friday.

The figure is expected to provide further signs that the US recovery remains on track, but anxiety over the resultant interest rate hike - likely September this year - capped gains at Wall Street, where Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.8 per cent higher.

Back in Singapore, Golden Agri-Resources was the best performing blue chip. The crude palm oil producer rose one cent or 2.47 per cent to 41.5 cents. In the same sector, Wilmar closed two cents or 0.61 per cent up at S$3.28, while First Resources outside the STI ended three cents or 1.45 per cent higher at S$2.10, its highest since mid-August last year.

Also among the gainers, Singapore Press Holdings closed four cents or 0.99 per cent up at S$4.09 per cent, while Singapore Airlines rose 20 cents or 1.86 per cent to close at S$10.95.

ComfortDelGro lost the most on STI, paring 10 cents or 3.12 per cent to end at S$3.10. But OCBC Investment Research still maintains its hold rating as it saw plenty of positives for the transport group heading into the year's second half, including an announcement this week that it's seeking opportunities in London's rail business.

SGX itself dropped 10 cents or 1.22 per cent to S$8.08. Shares of the bourse operator cool down after a strong surge on Wednesday, which prompted a central bank query and a trade with caution warning.

whwong@sph.com.sg