Bulls And Bears

Profit-taking pushes down S'pore shares

But ComfortDelGro among biggest gainers following news of planned tie-up with Uber

Local shares ended lower yesterday as profit-taking ate into earlier gains from a positive Wall Street lead.

The Straits Times Index gave back a 0.4 per cent gain yesterday morning to close down 0.11 per cent or 3.74 points at 3,260.05.

Jardine Matheson Holdings led the broader decline with a 2 per cent drop of US$1.37 to US$65.78, Hongkong Land lost 1.3 per cent or 10 US cents to US$7.41, and Singtel shed 0.3 per cent or one cent to $3.74. A bout of profit-taking sent OCBC Bank down 0.7 per cent or eight cents to $10.99 and UOB down 0.4 per cent or 10 cents to $23.49.

"Singapore bank stocks have performed well (in the) year to date on optimism of loan growth recovery and in anticipation of higher net interest margins as interest rates eventually rise. But sentiment is affected by back-pedalling of US rate hike expectations until the first quarter next year," DBS Group Research said.

"While we have raised OCBC's earnings guidance on higher non-interest income prospects, we cut UOB's guidance on muted loans growth and an uptick in non-performing loans."

ComfortDelGro was among yesterday's big winners, bouncing back from an eight-month low of $2.17 yesterday as traders cheered news of its planned tie-up with Uber. The stock rebounded 8.8 per cent or 19 cents to $2.36.

DBS Equity Research, which maintained a hold call, noted that ComfortDelGro's share price has lost 12 per cent since the start of the year on concerns about competition from private-hire players.

"This news could help lessen the effect," the broker said.

"This move could also signal to the market that its management is acting on market changes and looking for ways to counter the challenges."

Property stocks were underpinned by a slew of collective sales news.

City Developments gained two cents or 0.2 per cent to $11.45 and UOL Group rose nearly 1 per cent or eight cents to $8.13.

CapitaLand edged up one cent or 0.3 per cent to $3.74 on news that it will forge alliances with e-commerce players Alibaba and Lazada.

Among the most actively traded pennies was Rowsley, which jumped 16.3 per cent or 1.7 cents to 12.1 cents, on volume of 606.4 million shares. Swee Hong gained 17.6 per cent or 0.3 cent to two cents, with 81.9 million shares traded.

Sincap climbed 5 per cent or 0.1 cent to 2.1 cents on trade of 52.8 million shares.

QT Vascular jumped 9.1 per cent or 0.1 cent to 1.2 cents on volume of 46.5 million shares, while KrisEnergy rose 6 per cent or 0.7 cent to 12.3 cents after reports of agreements for Cambodia's first oil development in the Gulf of Thailand.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Profit-taking pushes down S'pore shares'. Print Edition | Subscribe