Singapore shares retreat following Wall Street weakness

A woman on the escalator in SGX Centre, Singapore.
A woman on the escalator in SGX Centre, Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The local stock market retreated on Wednesday as it took its cue from the overnight weakness in the United States.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) pared 3.83 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 3,215.7, while a total of 1.24 billion shares worth 1.06 billion changed hands acoss the bourse.

This lacklustre performance was in line with the 0.46 per cent drop on Wall Street, as investors fretted over President Donald Trump's ability to deliver on his promises for reform, after a vote on a healthcare bill was delayed.

"A fresh setback to the Republican agenda in the Senate could ... weigh on the market as the controversial vote on healthcare reforms was delayed, fuelling speculation that tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks may also take longer than anticipated," said KGI Securities (Singapore) in a note.

The biggest laggards included the Jardine group and Hongkong Land Holdings, which fell 1.6 per cent or 12 US cents to US$7.34.

SIA Engineering sank 1.4 per cent or six cents to S$4.11. CIMB Research cut its call on the stock from "hold" to "reduce", noting that there is no pressing need for Singapore Airlines to divest its stake in SIA Engineering as the airline tries to manage its balance sheet.

On the other hand, the banks did well, with gains led by United Overseas Bank, which climbed 0.2 per cent or five cents to S$22.98.

OCBC Bank added 0.1 per cent or one cent to S$10.74 and DBS Group Holdings put on 0.05 per cent or one cent to S$20.36.

Meanwhile, a global sell-down in technology stocks - on the back of Google's whopping 2.42 billion euro fine by the European Union - weighed down on related counters here. AEM Holdings, for example, slumped 10.8 per cent or 25 cents to S$2.07, and Venture Corporation eased 1.4 per cent or 17 cents to S$11.93.

Disa was again the most heavily traded stock as it surged 25 per cent or 0.3 cent to 1.5 cents on 184.9 million shares done.

Elsewhere in Asia, most markets also took a hit. Hong Kong fell 0.61 per cent, Shanghai slid 0.56 per cent and Tokyo was down by 0.47 per cent.

Jakarta was still closed for the holidays.