Singapore shares finished a tad lower yesterday as profit-taking erased earlier gains fuelled by better-than-expected China manufacturing data and higher oil prices.
The Straits Times Index slid 0.09 per cent or 3.02 points, weighed down by the banks and Wilmar International, among others.
DBS Group Holdings shed 0.4 per cent or nine cents to $20.65, OCBC Group dipped 0.6 per cent or seven cents to $10.72 and United Overseas Bank fell 0.3 per cent or seven cents to $23.05. Wilmar lost 1.5 per cent or five cents to $3.30 and Singapore Press Holding fell 1.2 per cent or four cents to $3.19. Jardine C&C eased 0.7 per cent or 31 cents to $44.04.
But local oil and gas plays rose after crude extended its winning streak for an eighth session.
Sembcorp Industries climbed 1.3 per cent or four cents to $3.12; Sembcorp Marine rose 0.9 per cent or 1.5 cents to $1.66; Yangzijiang Shipbuilding gained 2.5 per cent or three cents to $1.22; and Keppel Corp rose 0.5 per cent or three cents to $6.32.
China-related plays also got a boost from data that showed the world's second-largest economy's manufacturing sector expanding at the fastest pace in three months, well above forecasts and adding to evidence that China is maintaining its growth momentum.
Yanlord Land Group gained 0.6 per cent or one cent to $1.765. This after the Caixin Media and Markit Economics manufacturing purchasing managers' index for June rose to 50.4, above forecasts of 49.5.
Investors are also watching for the release on Thursday at 2am Singapore time of the minutes from the June 13-14 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, at which the US central bank raised interest rates for a second time this year.
They will be looking to see if the Fed remains committed to its plan to raise rates at least once more this year, despite inflation that continues to undershoot its 2 per cent target level.
"US stocks have pricey valuations and there are charts with troublesome technical indicators, coupled with a hawkish Fed, would point to a volatile period," a trader said.
Meanwhile, property counters got a new lease of life from the en-bloc market, which is stirring to life with owners at Tampines Court and Normanton Park the latest to jump on the collective sales bandwagon. "More developers are positioning themselves to prepare for an uptrend in the property market," a remisier said.
Signalling this trend, American private equity firm Blackstone last week made a cash offer to privatise Croesus Retail Trust at $1.17 per unit. Breadtalk Group rose 1.3 per cent or two cents to $1.515, after it said it will enter into a partnership to operate the popular Song Fa Bak Kut Teh brand of restaurants in China and Thailand.
Global Logistic Properties dropped one cent or 0.35 per cent to $2.85 after it said it had received "firm proposals" from shortlisted bidders for the company.