Bulls And Bears

Asian bourses mixed as Fed signals more hikes

STI dips on dismal local earnings, concerns over trade and growth prospects

Asian markets started the week mixed and currencies retreated after news over the weekend that the US Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates.

This sent the greenback higher against emerging market currencies and dampened market rallies in Asia after the US midterm polls.

While the Hang Seng, Shanghai Composite, Nikkei and ASX 200 ended the day higher, the Kospi and Kuala Lumpur index closed lower.

"It has been a slow start for Asian markets this week, with a light data calendar and thinned markets expected in the US on account of the Veterans Day holiday," said IG market analyst Pan Jingyi. "North Asian markets, specifically Chinese and Hong Kong indices, found relief from policy support from the Chinese government over the weekend that is helping them shrug off the weakening yuan on Monday."

Singapore stocks traded lower with the Straits Times Index (STI) down 9.82 points, or 0.32 per cent, to close at 3,068.15. Of the 30 STI constituents, 14 ended in the red.

Losers outnumbered gainers 236 to 145, as about 1.57 billion shares worth $809 million changed hands.

Ms Pan noted: "It appears to be a 'glass is half empty' situation for the likes of the local STI. Worries of trade tensions and tightening conditions continue to tip the scale for the local market."

CMC market analyst Margaret Yang said: "Overall market sentiment remains weak on lacklustre local earnings and ongoing concerns over trade and growth prospects amid rising uncertainties."

Genting Singapore was the most actively traded stock, falling 1.1 per cent to close at 94 cents on a turnover of 42.7 million shares.

Electronics manufacturing services provider Venture Corp was the biggest gainer in percentage terms, closing 2.2 per cent up at $15.03. Jardine Matheson was the biggest gainer in dollar terms, ending 70 US cents higher at US$61.

Among the banks, DBS closed 0.9 per cent lower at $23.52; OCBC shares fell 0.8 per cent to $11.37; and UOB slid 0.7 per cent to $24.49.

Singtel continued to slide after posting a 77 per cent fall in second-quarter profit last week. It closed 1.6 per cent lower at $3.05. Its shares have fallen 4.1 per cent since Nov 5.

"For the forward-looking investors, the anticipation for October's US CPI (consumer price index) to have a strong showing, which could keep the Fed on its tightening path, also appears to be a factor causing the market to be dragging its feet," Ms Pan said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2018, with the headline 'Asian bourses mixed as Fed signals more hikes'. Print Edition | Subscribe