Singapore shares fall, continuing recent poor run

Singapore market continued its poor run of form this week ahead of the release of Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes, but the plunge of oil prices also spooked investors.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) dropped for the third straight day, closing 14.36 points or 0.42 per cent down at 3,439.68. Volume also remained at the sub $1 billion level, with only $989.5 million worth of shares changing hands.

The fall echoed the mixed performance at Wall Street, where Dow Jones Industrial Average ended with a marginal 0.07 per cent gain overnight.

CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo said the local market suffered due partly to an over 3 per cent drop in oil prices on Tuesday.

As a result, energy and offshore marine blue chips took a hit, with Keppel Corp closing 13 cents or 1.47 per cent down at $8.70. Sembcorp Marine also pared four cents or 1.33 per cent to close at $2.96.

But the top losing blue chip was StarHub, which closed nine cents or 2.13 per cent down at $4.13. The telco operator has been falling since May 15 when it announced a 12.4 per cent year-on-year decline in first quarter net profit.

On the other end of the ledger, Hongkong Land Holdings gained the most, closing 12 US cents or 1.46 per cent up at US$8.33, while CapitaLand closed three cents or 0.83 per cent up at $3.63. The two counters may have been favoured for their Greater China portfolio, Mr Teo said.

But he added that the palm oil sector is worth a look going forward as crude palm oil futures volume continue to increase, suggesting near term price reactions.

Crude palm oil producer First Resource closed eight cents or 4.12 per cent up at $2.02. Golden Agri-Resources on the STI ended flat at 42 cents, but gained by as much as 2.4 per cent through the day.

Overseas, Tokyo surged to a 15-year high following the announcement of a surprise 2.4 per cent economic growth in the first quarter. Shanghai rose 0.65 per cent while Hong Kong dropped 0.39 per cent.

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