STI closes relatively flat even as Asian bourses slide into negative territory

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares closed relatively flat on Monday (Nov 30) after early gains due to a soft lead from European markets.

The Straits Times Index closed down 3.18 points or 0.11 per cent to 2,855.94, with 1.37 billion shares worth S$1.18 billion changing hands.

"We were half expecting some window-dressing to happen on the last day of the month, but it didn't happen. But November isn't a very significant month because it isn't the end of the calendar quarter," remisier Desmond Leong said.

"The Singapore market has been very weak, and the downtrend looks set to continue. The next support for the STI is seen at 2,800.

Gains in Singtel helped shore up the market.

The telco rose 0.8 per cent or 3 cents to S$3.83 on news of a deal with Globe Telecom to strengthen its information security services and help businesses fight cybercrime. About 35.5 million Singtel shares changed hands.

Noble Group was the leading gainer, up 6.3 per cent or 2.5 cents to 42.5 cents, with 51 million shares traded.

Banks were active as well ahead of the widely expected rise in United States interest rates this month. UOB was up 0.8 per cent or 16 cents to S$19.39.

Except for Singapore and China, the rest of Asia remained in negative territory as ongoing investigations about short-selling and alleged rule violations at Chinese brokerages hurt sentiment.

Investors are also watching China's Purchasing managers' indices out on Tuesday for indications on the health of its manufacturing sector.

gleong@sph.com.sg