Bulls And Bears

Asian markets mixed on fears of further lockdowns in US, Europe

STI eases 0.02% as initial vaccine-led optimism fades * Tokyo, Hong Kong, KL decline, while Seoul, Jakarta end higher * Sats best performer on STI; SIA loses steam after earlier rally

Singapore shares eased slightly yesterday against a mixed showing by regional peers, as initial vaccine-led optimism gave way to fears of further lockdowns, following a spike in Covid-19 infections across the United States and Europe.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slipped 0.02 per cent, or 0.51 point, to 2,711.39. Across the broader market, advancers outpaced decliners 227 to 203 after about 1.65 billion securities worth $1.42 billion changed hands.

DailyFX strategist Margaret Yang said vaccine optimism appeared to have cooled as investors refocused on near-term headwinds.

With the exception of Seoul and Jakarta, key benchmarks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur ended the day in negative territory.

Ms Yang said: "Profit taking could be the main theme on Friday as vaccine enthusiasm faded, while pandemic risk is back to the centre of the stage."

Among the STI constituents, Sats was the best-performing, gaining 5.6 per cent to $3.80. The ground handler and food supplier had announced on Thursday that it is gearing up to handle vaccines for the coronavirus.

Singtel gained 3.1 per cent to $2.30 and was the most heavily traded by volume on the blue-chip index, with more than 61.8 million shares changing hands. The telco on Thursday posted a net profit of $466.1 million for the six months ended Sept 30, reversing a net loss of $127 million a year ago.

ComfortDelGro rose 2.7 per cent to $1.54. Market observers had said the transport behemoth is a "buy" as recovery seems to be under way in Singapore and other key markets.

Singapore Airlines, however, lost steam after having ridden the vaccine-led rally earlier this week. SIA shares fell 2.79 per cent to $3.83.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2020, with the headline 'Asian markets mixed on fears of further lockdowns in US, Europe'. Print Edition | Subscribe