Singapore stocks start week lower amid regional decline

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) fell 0.6 per centon Monday to close at 3,138.97. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore stocks fell to begin the week, amid declines in most regional markets as China and Hong Kong equities plunged.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) fell 0.6 per centon Monday to close at 3,138.97.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong shares led losses, with tech and private education stocks plunging.

The Hang Seng Index fell 4.1 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite Index ended 2.3 per cent lower. South Korea's Kospi was down 0.9 per cent and Malaysia's KLCI fell 0.7 per cent. Shares in Japan bucked the trend, with the Nikkei 225 rising 1 per cent, as traders returned from a long holiday.

Mr Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda, said: "The plunge in China equities dominated Asian markets after the government further tightened its crackdown on Tencent and completely torpedoed the multi-billion student tuition sector over the weekend."

He noted that Asean markets are also expected to underperform by association, and regional markets would also be weighed down by the rise of the Delta variant in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

On the local bourse, shares of Yangzijiang Shipbuilding led the decline on the STI, falling 2.1 per cent to S$1.38.

Across the broader market, losers outnumbered gainers 285 to 229, after 1.44 billion securities worth S$1.01 billion changed hands. Only five index counters managed gains, with Singapore Airlines emerging the top gainer for the day, with its shares rising 1.8 per cent to S$5.

Shares of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) were the second-most actively traded by value during the day after DBS. SPH shares rose 0.5 per cent to close at S$1.86, after shares worth S$45.2 million changed hands.

Globally, observers remain upbeat about the outlook for the economy and equity markets.

"The macro narrative remains one of a post-pandemic recovery," said Chris Iggo at AXA Investment Managers, though "continued pandemic risk is likely to be a recurring source of 'risk-off' events in the financial markets".

  • Additional information from AFP

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