Regional markets fall on disappointing China factory data

The Straits Times Index slipped 3.31 points or 0.1 per cent to wrap up trading at 3,218.27 points. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Disappointing data on Chinese factory output and Beijing's clampdown on Internet firms weighed on investor sentiment, sending regional markets into the red.

While Singapore shares were not spared on Friday, the decline was relatively small, with the Straits Times Index (STI) slipping 3.31 points or 0.1 per cent to wrap up trading at 3,218.27 points but up 0.76 per cent for the week.

Gainers trailed losers 182 to 306 in the broad market, with 1.65 billion securities worth $1.83 billion transacted.

Shares of Raffles Education Corporation, which is deliberating a requisition to convene an extraordinary general meeting to remove executive chairman Chew Hua Seng, rose 21.95 per cent to 20 cents.

The request, by substantial shareholders Oei Hong Leong and his firm, has since been followed up with an open letter dated April 28.

Mr Oei has offered to pay for an independent special audit of a share placement in 2017 if his allegation that Mr Chew was the beneficiary owner of the placement shares is found to be untrue.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding's stellar quarterly earnings did not help its shares from slipping into the red. The counter slid 2.06 per cent to $1.43, notwithstanding an almost 90 per cent jump year-on-year for its first-quarter earnings.

Sembcorp Marine, with a trading volume of 117.8 million, was the most active, closing 2.33 per cent lower at 21 cents.

Elsewhere in Asia, where the impact of the news from China was felt more keenly, Hong Kong's Hang Seng led the pack with a loss of 1.97 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.81 per cent.

Japan's Nikkei 225 and South Korea's Kospi Index each lost 0.83 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 logged a slightly smaller decline of 0.80 per cent and Malaysian shares shed 0.43 per cent at the closing bell.

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