Singapore shares hit five-month low on China data

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares hit their lowest in five months on Monday, pressured by concerns over a slowdown in China's economy after growth in the country's services sector slowed to a five-year low in January.

The benchmark Straits Times Index fell for a third consecutive session, and was down 1 per cent at 2,995.5 by midday, the lowest since Aug 28 last year. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.3 per cent lower.

China's official non-manufacturing Purchasing Managers'Index (PMI) fell to 53.4 in January from December's 54.6, putting further strains on the market, as pressures from the massive sell-off in emerging markets show little sign of abating.

Real estate companies CapitaMall Asia and Hongkong Land Holdings led the decline, with Hongkong Land falling as much as 3 per cent to a one-month low of $5.84. Shares of CapitaMall Asia slid 2.8 per cent to an intra-day low of $1.71, the lowest since June 2013.

Among other stocks, shares of Genting Singapore declined 2.5 per cent to an intra-day low of $1.35, its lowest in nearly five months.

Brokerage Maybank Kim Eng maintained its "sell" rating on shares of Genting Singapore and a target price of $1.31.

Genting Singapore saw 17 per cent year-on-year contraction of VIP volume in the fourth quarter of 2013.

"The only silver lining is that the Japanese casino liberalisation process may be fast tracked by a year," said Maybank. "Nonetheless, we believe the consensus is too bullish on Genting Singapore's earnings outlook."