SINGAPORE - Already anxious investors were dealt another blow on Friday (May 31) with US President Donald Trump's tariff threat on Mexico sending the local market and its regional peers sharply lower upon market open. But most markets have since recovered from the knee-jerk reaction.
Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) was trading at 3,123.37, down 19.63 points or 0.6 per cent, as at 1.05pm on Friday. The bluechip index is set for four straight weeks of declines, and its worst monthly showing in over three years.
Market watchers noted that of more consequence to the region were China's official purchasing managers index (PMI) figures, released shortly after market open. Non-manufacturing PMI came in level with the street's estimates. While the street expected manufacturing to contract, the 49.4 posted was more than expected.
Shortly after the afternoon session commenced, volume on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 536.72 million securities traded and a total turnover of $511.56 million.
Across the market, decliners beat advancers 172 to 99. Meanwhile, the benchmark index had 21 of the STI's 30 components trading in the red.
Singtel, trading flat at $3.20, was the benchmark index's most traded stock with 13.9 million shares changing hands. The telco has outperformed the STI in recent sessions, as investors appear to be shifting to more defensively positioned equity portfolios.
The bellwether local banks continued their downtrend. DBS Group Holdings was $0.29 or 1.2 per cent lower at $24.31, OCBC Bank dropped $0.11 or one per cent to $10.63 and United Overseas Bank traded at $23.66, down $0.23 or one per cent.
That said, ratings agency Moody's has maintained that the 12-18 month outlook for the local banks remains stable (Aaa).
"Singapore banks will continue to show strong fundamentals across all aspects of their operations, despite a slowdown in economic growth in Singapore and broadly in Asia," said Eugene Tarzimanov, a Moody's vice-president and senior credit officer.
Creative Technology shares jumped $0.66 or 19.2 per cent to trade at $4.10 after revealing that it is in works with Clevo - a Taiwanese OEM computer manufacturer - to integrate its Super X-Fi technology into Clevo's next generation gaming laptops.
Friday morning saw the debut of integrated healthcare group Alliance Healthcare Group on the Singapore bourse's Catalist board at 20.5 cents. Shortly after the afternoon session commenced, shares were trading at 20 cents - its initial public offering price - with 1.52 million traded.
With Alliance Healthcare's listing, 217 companies are now listed on the Catalist board, with a combined market capitalisation of about $9 billion, Singapore Exchange said.
Regional markets were mixed. Australia was up 0.4 per cent, China added 0.1 per cent, Malaysia rose 0.4 per cent, and South Korea 0.3 per cent. Japan dropped 0.8 per cent and Hong Kong down 0.2 per cent.