Profit-taking keeps S'pore shares down

Weak showing on Wall St, lacklustre data from China dampen trading sentiment

Profit-taking and a weak lead from Wall Street kept Singapore shares in negative territory.

The Straits Times Index fell 0.54 per cent or 16.13 points yesterday to close at 2,981.59.

The benchmark was weighed down by OCBC, which fell 0.66 per cent or six cents to $9.05; Hongkong Land, which lost 1.22 per cent or nine US cents to US$7.29; and CapitaLand which shed 1.3 per cent or four cents to $3.11.

Trading sentiment was dulled by further signs that China's old growth engines are slowing. Industrial output rose 5.6 per cent last month from a year earlier, matching the January-to-March reading, which was the weakest since 2008. Fixed-asset investment increased 10.2 per cent in the first 10 months, the slowest pace since 2000. Retail sales climbed 11 per cent last month, the quickest gain this year.

Oil-related plays also fell on weaker crude prices. Keppel Corp dipped 0.8 per cent or six cents to $7.01. Ezra Holdings fell 1.67 per cent or 0.2 cent to 11.8 cents, with 42.4 million shares traded, and Ezion shed 2.17 per cent or 1.5 cents to 67.5 cents, with 17.2 million shares traded.

Most Singapore-listed Reits and trusts, such as Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Trust, took a hit this week due to the increasing likelihood of a December rate hike in the United States. HPH fell 2.7 per cent or 1.5 US cents to 53.5 US cents.

Singtel was among the most actively traded after it announced that it had outbid rival StarHub to win the Singapore broadcast rights to all English Premier League matches for the next three seasons. Its share price stayed flat at $3.87, with 19 million shares traded.

QT Vascular plunged 18 per cent or 2.9 cents to 13.2 cents yesterday following news that the firm posted bigger net losses for the third quarter after providing for damages it may have to pay after losing a patent lawsuit. Some 41.6 million shares were traded. The medical supplies group said its net loss widened to US$33.3 million (S$47.4 million) for the third quarter from US$3.7 million a year earlier. This was due largely to one-off recognition of US$20.4 million in damages that a California judge awarded in July to AngioScore against QT chief executive Eitan Konstantino, the firm and two related units. QT said that it plans to appeal against the ruling.

Tigerair continued to see heavy trade after news last week that Singapore Airlines (SIA) has made a $453 million takeover bid for the budget carrier, of which it already owns 55.8 per cent. SIA, which offered 41 Singapore cents in cash per share, plans to delist and privatise the carrier. Tigerair shares were flat at 41 cents, with 37.1 million shares traded.

A stronger US dollar took its toll on commodity counters such as Wilmar International, which shed 0.65 per cent or two cents to $3.05, with 15.4 million shares traded. Noble Group dipped nearly 1 per cent or 0.5 cent to 51.5 cents, with 49.9 million shares traded.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2015, with the headline 'Profit-taking keeps S'pore shares down'. Print Edition | Subscribe