Bulls And Bears

Asian markets join global stock rout

S'pore not spared after Wall St sinks on tech stocks but index still ends higher for the week

Asian markets reversed into the red yesterday, tracking the sell-off on Wall Street.

Local stocks were not spared the bloodletting with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) sinking 32.17 points, or 0.99 per cent, to 3,226.48, with turnover across the bourse totalling about 832.8 million shares worth $1.21 billion. But the index was still 17.01 points or 0.53 per cent higher for the week.

Sydney took the worst hit among regional markets with a 1.66 per cent drop, while Tokyo fell 0.92 per cent and Hong Kong lost 0.77 per cent.

Shanghai bucked the trend to inch up 0.14 per cent, thanks to upbeat Chinese manufacturing data.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the United States was down 0.78 per cent, while the S&P 500 fell 0.86 per cent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 1.44 per cent.

The drag came primarily from the tech stock rout, which has been weighing on US markets in recent weeks.

"Wall Street had been fickle in the past week but the latest decline appears to have accelerated into the end of the week," noted IG market strategies Pan Jingyi.

"I would not be surprised if this vacuum of leads for markets persists until earnings reports arrive in the middle of next month to either validate or undermine the current prices and valuations," she said.

Still, Mr Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank, told Bloomberg: "It's been a very good period for Asian equities and some investors are taking advantage of the buoyant market by taking some money off the table, considering there is a still a potential rate hike in the US this year.

"No one loses money from taking some profit."

Much of yesterday's losses on the STI came from local banks. United Overseas Bank fell 1.7 per cent or 40 cents to $23.12, OCBC Bank slid 1.5 per cent or 16 cents to $10.79, and DBS Group Holdings pared 0.6 per cent or 12 cents to $20.74.

Other key laggards included palm oil producer Wilmar International, which plunged 3.7 per cent or 13 cents to $3.35, and property firm UOL Group, down steeply by 3.5 per cent or 28 cents to $7.64.

On the other side of the ledger, CapitaCommercial Trust added 0.6 per cent or one cent to $1.66 while Singtel edged 0.3 per cent or one cent higher to $3.89.

An RHB report said the impending listing of Singtel unit Netlink Trust "would unlock and crystallise the value of the owner and developer of fibre assets for Singtel". But it kept a "neutral" call on the stock, citing concerns over heightened competitive risks in Singapore and Australia with the entry of TPG Telecom.

Golden Agri-Resources was the day's most active counter with 35.1 million shares changing hands. The stock slid 1.3 per cent or half a cent to 37.5 cents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Asian markets join global stock rout'. Print Edition | Subscribe