Bulls And Bears

STI dips again as investors await US jobs data

Mixed day across region with HK and KL losing ground but Shanghai extending rally

The local market lost ground for a second day in a mixed regional showing as investors waited on closely watched US jobs data.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) pared 13.18 points or 0.44 per cent to 3,010.47 in a fairly quiet session. For the week, the STI managed to add 0.4 per cent.

Remisier Desmond Leong said: "Some investors could be taking their money off the table before the US non-farm payroll data announcement. But with expectations largely settled for a December rate hike, I don't think we will see much selldown in the coming days, no matter the data. In fact, after the rally in October, I'm less bearish now. I see the index going either sideways or upwards from here."

As investors awaited the US jobs data due after the market close, worries over the timing of the US interest rate rise persisted.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.02 per cent after a choppy session. In Asia, Shanghai added 1.91 per cent yesterday and 6.1 per cent for the week as its mini-rally continued. But Hong Kong lost 0.8 per cent and Kuala Lumpur fell 0.17 per cent.

At home, Spackman Entertainment was the most active counter with 80.3 million shares changing hands. The film firm added one cent or 11.9 per cent to 9.4 cents.

Tiger Airways, another top active counter, rose 10 cents or 32.26 per cent to 41 cents, level with Singapore Airlines' takeover offer announced yesterday.

Investors were also pleased with Singapore O&G's move to acquire all the businesses operated by aesthetic specialist Joyce Lim. Following the announcement on Thursday, SO&G rose 2.5 cents or 3.88 per cent to 67 cents yesterday.

"We expect this merger to enhance 2016's earnings and dividend per share and thus be positive for shareholders' value," SO&G chief executive Victor Ng said.

Sats was the top-gaining blue chip, up nine cents or 2.31 per cent at $3.98. DBS Group Research gave the company a hold call with a target price of $3.65 in a recent note.

The flight services provider was able to save costs and generate better-than-expected earnings in the three months to Sept 30 after it spun off food unit BRF in June, DBS analysts said, but the counter's valuations are currently too steep to warrant a buy call.

Noble Group gained one cent or 1.94 per cent to 52.5 cents, while CapitaLand put on three cents or 0.94 per cent to $3.23.

Golden Agri-Resources lost the most among STI constituents, off one cent or 2.6 per cent at 37.5 cents. Singapore Technologies Engineering closed eight cents or 2.42 per cent down at $3.22 despite its announcement of 9.9 per cent net profit growth in its third quarter.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which dropped one cent or 0.82 per cent to $1.21, was given a sell call by Maybank Kim Eng yesterday, citing weak margins and default risks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 07, 2015, with the headline 'STI dips again as investors await US jobs data'. Print Edition | Subscribe