Bulls And Bears

Singapore market limits losses in see-saw week

Slower growth in China and fall on Wall Street dampen sentiment

It wasn't much of a week for investors but at least the local market managed to keep its losses down to 0.2 per cent.

That was no mean feat given the headwinds, ranging from rising United States interest rates to geopolitical tensions to the ever-present trade conflict.

One of the biggest numbers out this week came from China, where gross domestic product grew 6.5 per cent, the slowest rate in nearly nine years. The trade fight with the US appears to have taken its toll on the Chinese economy, which is already seeing weakness. Private Chinese companies are facing liquidity concerns, with capital outflows triggered by a weakened yuan.

"When China sneezes, it is not only emerging markets that will catch a cold but the rest of the world," said FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga, adding that further signs of a slowdown in economic momentum are "likely to compound risk aversion, ultimately impacting global sentiment".

Chinese stocks staged a late rally yesterday after top finance officials talked up the economic outlook.

A fall on Wall Street overnight due to weak industrial earnings, the impact of tariffs and the crisis over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi also dampened sentiment.

Singapore's Straits Times Index endured a mostly see-saw week to end 7.16 points, or 0.23 per cent, down at 3,062.51 yesterday, with losers outnumbering gainers 230 to 144 on turnover of 1.85 billion shares worth $1.06 billion.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, the most-traded stock of the session, fell 13.87 per cent to $1.18 on heavy turnover of 113.07 million shares.

Among other actives, DBS fell 0.37 per cent to $24.26 while Singtel gained 0.96 per cent to $3.17.

Keppel Corp slipped 1.78 per cent to $6.64. The conglomerate's offshore and marine division turned in a $1.5 million net profit in the third quarter while its property and infrastructure divisions "continued to deliver", OCBC noted.

Property giant City Developments recouped some of its losses to end 0.49 per cent up at $8.28 after dipping in the previous trading session.

Frasers Commercial Trust rose 1.42 per cent to $1.43 despite reporting a slide in distribution per unit to 2.4 cents from 2.41 cents.

Elsewhere, Tokyo stocks extended their losses with the Nikkei 225 index slipping 0.56 per cent, marking a 0.72 per cent fall over the week. Malaysian stocks closed 0.3 per cent lower, weighed down by telco counters.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore market limits losses in see-saw week'. Print Edition | Subscribe