Bulls And Bears

No break in STI slide after holiday break

Index slips for 7th straight session, dragged down by commodity, oil and gas counters

Singapore equities extended losses to a seventh straight session as they resumed trading on a downbeat note after a long weekend.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) yesterday slid 0.96 per cent, or 27.32 points, to 2,811.2.

Markets in the region were mixed. Shanghai grew 1.9 per cent, led by consumer and technology shares amid hopes of fresh stimulus measures, while Hong Kong fell 1.9 per cent to post its biggest one-day loss since Feb 11.

Tokyo, which tumbled 3.1 per cent on Monday, was closed for the Golden Week holiday. Sydney rose 2.1 per cent after a surprise central bank interest rate cut to a record low.

In the United States, gains in bank and consumer counters helped boost Wall Street by 0.7 per cent overnight.

Analysts expect sentiment to stay on the downside, given the declining US dollar, continued weakness in crude prices, and worries over central banks' ability to lift growth.

"We've started to take a little bit of money off the table," Mr Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies Group in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.

"There's quite a bit for investors to digest now after quite a big run-up in markets, particularly after the disappointment from the Bank of Japan last week. We're into the May doldrums, where people are starting to reconsider portfolios and will probably not do too much."

Commodity plays were a drag on the STI yesterday, with Golden Agri-Resources falling one cent or 2.5 per cent to 39 cents, and Wilmar International losing eight cents or 2.2 per cent to $3.63.

Oil- and gas-related counters also fared poorly alongside crude prices, amid renewed concerns over increased output from Opec.

Sembcorp Marine retreated three cents or 1.8 per cent to $1.64, while parent company Sembcorp Industries sank seven cents or 2.4 per cent to $2.82. Keppel Corporation was flat at $5.40.

DBS Group Holdings was the only gainer among the local lenders, climbing seven cents or 0.5 per cent to $15.35. OCBC Bank dropped 17 cents or 1.9 per cent to $8.60, while United Overseas Bank slid 20 cents or 1.1 per cent to $18.40.

Outside of the blue chips, biomedical firm QT Vascular was the day's most active counter, with 51.5 million shares changing hands.

The stock dipped 0.1 cent or 0.9 per cent to 10.6 cents after jumping to 11.9 cents in early trade. It announced on Monday it has received "preliminary non-binding proposals from third parties expressing interest in the possible purchase of certain assets of the company".

Event services provider Cityneon Holdings rose 1.5 cents or 2.6 per cent to 59 cents before the firm requested a trading halt on the stock, pending an announcement.

A NetResearch Asia report, citing an unnamed trader, said there was market speculation about the firm putting out a private placement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2016, with the headline 'No break in STI slide after holiday break'. Print Edition | Subscribe