Bulls And Bears

S'pore market flat over US tech rout worries

Concerns over Covid-19 vaccine, hard Brexit also curb traders' risk appetite

Singapore shares capped a rather broody week on a flat note.

The key Straits Times Index (STI) was down two points or 0.08 per cent at 2,490.09 yesterday, after a renewed rout in United States mega-cap technology shares.

The market's key barometer lost 0.8 per cent over the week on worries that the US tech bears could portend something deeper. For one, will the meltdown turn more broad-based and engulf other stocks and asset classes?

Dashed Covid-19 vaccine hopes - seen as vital to jump-starting the global economic recovery - and a bearish oil market, plus the likelihood of a no-deal hard Brexit, added to the uncertainty, curbing traders' risk appetite.

Across Asia, markets in Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Malaysia pocketed gains despite Wall Street's overnight faltering, but Taiwan and Australia ended in the red.

FXTM analysts Lukman Otunuga and Han Tan said in a note: "Looking ahead, there could be even more volatility in store, with the quadruple witching day for US markets taking place next Friday."

They noted that the futures and options on indices and stocks are set to meet their quarterly expiration on Sept 18, which can trigger heightened volatility and a surge in trade volumes.

The European Central Bank kept rates unchanged at its policy meeting on Thursday. And with that, all eyes will be on the US' Federal Open Market Committee meeting next week.

Overall trading volume in the Singapore market stood at 1.24 billion shares worth $925.7 million. Among the STI constituents, 13 counters were up and 11, down.

Bucking the stock market's overall sour note, AEM Holdings jumped over 10 per cent to $3.63 after it raised its FY2020 revenue guidance on the back of sales order visibility and business outlook.

Wilmar International rose 0.7 per cent to $4.20. Citi Research said the recent price weakness could be temporary, as investors await the final regulatory nod for the much-awaited initial public offering of its Chinese arm.

Ascendas Reit closed unchanged at $3.27. Its manager said the day before that the real estate investment trust (Reit) had priced its $300 million green subordinated perpetual securities under its $7 billion euro medium-term securities programme.

The securities will replace the existing perpetual securities, which are callable next month, and do not materially change the Reit's credit metrics, said Moody's Investors Service.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2020, with the headline 'S'pore market flat over US tech rout worries'. Print Edition | Subscribe