Singapore shares finish tad lower on profit taking

The key Straits Times Index closed 0.09 per cent or 3.02 points down, weighed down by the banks, Wilmar International, Singapore Press Holdings and Jardine Cycle & Carriage.
The key Straits Times Index closed 0.09 per cent or 3.02 points down, weighed down by the banks, Wilmar International, Singapore Press Holdings and Jardine Cycle & Carriage.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares finished a tad lower as profit-taking erased earlier gains from better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data and higher oil prices.

The key Straits Times Index closed 0.09 per cent or 3.02 points down, weighed down by the banks, Wilmar International, Singapore Press Holdings and Jardine Cycle & Carriage.

DBS Group shed 0.4 per cent or nine cents to S$20.65; OCBC Group dipped 0.6 per cent or seven cents to S$10.72. Wilmar lost 1.5 per cent or five cents to S$3.30; SPH fell 1.2 per cent or four cents to S$3.19. Jardine C&C edged down 0.7 per cent or 31 cents to S$44.04.

But local oil and gas plays gained after crude extended its winning streak for an eighth straight session. Sembcorp Industries rose 1.3 per cent or four cents to S$3.12; Sembcorp Marine inched up 0.9 per cent or 1.5 cents to S$1.66.

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China-related plays also got a boost from data that showed the world's second largest economy's manufacturing sector expanding at the fastest pace in three months, well above forecasts and adding to evidence that China is maintaining its growth momentum.

Yanlord Land Group gained 0.6 per cent or one cent to S$1.765. This after the Caixin Media and Markit Economics manufacturing purchasing managers' index for June rose to 50.4, above forecasts of 49.5.

Investors are also watching for the release of minutes of US Fed reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meeting from June 13-14, at which the central bank raised interest rates for a second time this year. The release is due on July 6 (2 am Singapore time).

They will be eyeing whether the Fed remains committed to its plan to raise rates at least once more this year, despite inflation that continues to undershoot its 2 per cent target.

"US stocks have pricey valuations and there are charts with troublesome technical indicators, coupled with a hawkish Fed, would point to a volatile period," a trader said.

Meanwhile, property counters got a new lease of life from the collective sale market, which is stirring to life with owners at Tampines Court and Normanton Park the latest to join those jumping on the bandwagon to sell en bloc.