Investors in wait-and-watch mode over Fed chief speech, STI closes 19 points down

The benchmark Straits Times Index closed down 19.28 points or 0.67 per cent at 2,857.65.
The benchmark Straits Times Index closed down 19.28 points or 0.67 per cent at 2,857.65.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares came off as investors cleared the table to avoid any knee jerk reaction next week that may be triggered by Federal Reserve signals on rate hike.

The benchmark Straits Times Index closed down 19.28 points or 0.67 per cent at 2,857.65, ahead of a speech by Fed chairman's Janet Yellen after the market closed yesterday.

Trading volume was again very thin amid the cautious mood, with only 579.2 million shares worth S$615.6 million transacted across the whole market.

For the week, the STI still added 0.48 per cent, but the gain belied the fact that only 606.7 million blue chip shares were traded in the five-day session - the slowest since the start of the year.

Elsewhere, the risk-off sentiment was just as prevalent. Shanghai added a marginal 0.07 per cent yesterday but was off 1.2 per cent for the week, while Tokyo dipped 1.1 per cent over the five days.

Investors in Singapore were treated to more bad news on the economy, as July's manufacturing output was shown to have decline 3.6 per cent year on year.

Meanwhile, the market also heard Saudi Arabian energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih say that no major intervention on oil production output is expected.

With no reason to cheer, 23 of the 30 STI component stocks fell on Friday, led by Global Logistic Properties which pared four cents or 2.11 per cent to S$1.855 on 22.6 million shares changing hands.