Bulls And Bears

Local shares down 0.6% amid thin trading

Relative indifference seen on eve of S'pore general election, US jobs data release

Investors had their minds on other things yesterday, perhaps the general election in Singapore or the release of United States jobs figures later in the day.

The relative indifference sent the Straits Times Index down 16.84 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 2,652.65. Volumes were thin, with 2.6 billion shares worth $1.09 billion done. Losers outpaced gainers 270 to 221.

Losses among the STI stocks were led by OCBC Bank, DBS Bank, Hongkong Land Holdings and CapitaLand Mall Trust, which knocked off nearly nine index points.

Keppel Corp fell 1.14 per cent to $6.06. The group said its wholly owned unit, Kepinvest Singapore, will extend KrisEnergy's debt restructuring deadline from July 15 to the end of September. This is to support KrisEnergy's management while it crafts a debt workout plan with stakeholders.

Keppel owns about 40 per cent of KrisEnergy and counts the firm as an associate.

Biolidics jumped 32.3 per cent to 41 cents and was one of the most actively traded counters, with 62 million shares done.

The Singapore-based cancer-diagnostics firm said late Wednesday that it had inked a five-year pact with Hangzhou-based LC-Bio to develop cancer-diagnostic solutions.

Much of the region posted gains.

Hong Kong rose 0.31 per cent as it took the lead from Wall Street gains overnight. Nasdaq hit a record closing high on Wednesday with all three major indexes gaining, supported by technology shares, as early signs of an economic rebound offset concern about further virus-led lockdowns.

China's Shanghai Composite Index climbed 1.39 per cent, while the Shenzhen bourse jumped 2.7 per cent.

The rally in Shanghai's main index, which tends to set the tone for markets in the region, has been spurred by the large volumes of extra cash pumped through the financial system and reflects hopes that the world's second-largest economy can recover quickly this year.

Japan lost early gains to end just 0.4 per cent higher, as the number of new coronavirus cases in Tokyo hit a single-day record.

South Korea added 0.42 per cent and Australia put on 0.6 per cent.

Like Singapore, the Malaysian market was an outlier and closed almost flat.

Mr Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said of the general mood in Asia: "Trading ranges continue to narrow as exchange volumes dwindle. Summer markets, yes, but (the situation is) also reflective of the fact that no one seems to have much conviction on anything right now."

•Additional reporting by Reuters

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2020, with the headline 'Local shares down 0.6% amid thin trading'. Subscribe