S'pore market eases in tandem with the region over Covid-19

  Losers outnumbered gainers 267 to 213 after 1.84 billion shares worth $1.62 billion changed hands.
Losers outnumbered gainers 267 to 213 after 1.84 billion shares worth $1.62 billion changed hands.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Local shares followed their regional counterparts lower on Friday (July 30) as investors far and wide took heed of concerns over the spread of Covid-19.

The gloomier mood sent the Straits Times Index (STI) down 0.4 per cent, or 13.67 points, to close at 3,166.94, although it was still up 0.3 per cent for the week - its fifth consecutive week of gains.

Losers outnumbered gainers 267 to 213 after 1.84 billion shares worth $1.62 billion changed hands.

Keppel Corp and Jardine Cycle & Carriage (JC&C), which reported earnings and declared dividends on Thursday, were the top STI gainers.

Keppel rose 1.9 per cent to $5.49 after posting a net profit for the first half, rebounding from a net loss a year earlier.

JC&C also lifted underlying profits for the first half, helping send its stock up 1 per cent to $20.50.

It was the opposite for Dairy Farm International, which fell 5.5 per cent to US$3.76 - the largest decliner for the day and the week - after reporting a 69 per cent drop in first-half underlying net profit on Thursday.

Mapletree Industrial Trust was the top gainer on the STI for the week, with its units rising 4.2 per cent over the five days to $3.

Elsewhere, markets mostly fell on worries over rising Covid-19 infections and China's regulatory crackdown among the factors weighing on investor sentiment.

Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley said: "It looks like investors are taking risks off the table. With sentiment remaining fragile, despite some stabilisation on Friday, the fast-money herds don't need much to spook them."

In the region, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.8 per cent; the Kospi, 1.2 per cent; the Shanghai Composite, 0.4 per cent; the Hang Seng, 1.3 per cent; and the ASX 200, 0.4 per cent.