China rebound fails to lift S'pore stocks

STI sheds 17.59 points, mirroring overnight sentiment on Wall Street

CHINA'S battered stock markets bounced back yesterday on the back of new government measures to stop panic selling, but the respite failed to spread to Singapore.

The country's state margin lender said on Wednesday it was broadening its bailout buying to include small-cap stocks and mutual funds, in addition to blue chips.

This boosted investor confidence and sent the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index surging 5.76 per cent - its biggest one-day rise since March 2009.

Taking its cue from the mainland, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 3.73 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.6 per cent.

"As China beefs up its efforts to rescue the market... market sentiment is recovering slightly," Shenwan Hongyuan Group analyst Qian Qimin told Bloomberg News.

"The rise today may help ease some selling pressure when companies resume their shares trading, but whether it's sustainable will depend on what policies are coming next."

Singapore shares, however, were left out of the party. The Straits Times Index pared 17.59 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 3,267.4.

This mirrored overnight sentiment on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 1.47 per cent on Wednesday.

IG market strategist Bernard Aw noted that investors here are still treading cautiously. "Around 50 per cent of China's A-shares are still under trading halts, which suggests that there may be considerable selling interest still pent-up. This made me wonder whether the rally has any legs to stand on."

He added that the unfinished business in Greece is "still sending the jitters across the market".

Greece was supposed to deliver its new reform proposals last evening to secure a bailout deal with creditors and stave off a possible exit from the euro zone.

"It's hard to tell what is going to happen where politics is concerned," said Mr Aw.

Much of the sell-off here was led by the three local banks. DBS Group Holdings lost 14 cents to $20.51, while United Overseas Bank slipped 11 cents to $22.82. OCBC Bank shed five cents to $10.10.

Their weakness came after minutes of the Federal Reserve's June meeting showed members wanted more signs of an economic recovery before raising rates, which means that the rate hike - touted to be in September - may be pushed back.

Other laggards included telco Singtel, which slumped seven cents to $4.26, and the Singapore Exchange, down seven cents to $7.98.

Outside of the blue chips, SingPost rose one cent to $1.915. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group had announced on Wednesday that it is investing about $279 million to expand its holdings in the firm.

Water-treatment firm SIIC Environment was the day's most active counter, with 113.6 million shares changing hands. The stock added 1.8 cents to 17.3 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2015, with the headline 'China rebound fails to lift S'pore stocks'. Print Edition | Subscribe