Bulls and bears

S'pore shares slide further in thin trading

STI clocks losses for third straight session, with trading volumes across Asia also thin

Singapore equities continued to lose ground yesterday, clocking losses for the third straight session.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slid 9.76 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 3,204.79 yesterday. Total trade across the bourse remained subdued at 1.11 billion shares worth $610.7 million.

Trading volumes across Asia were also thin with markets in mainland China and Hong Kong closed for a holiday.

Tokyo was again flat, dipping just 0.02 per cent, as Seoul shed 0.39 per cent and Sydney rose 0.19 per cent.

Ms Pan Jingyi, IG market strategist, said in a note that a consolidation of prices could continue ahead of key China Purchasing Managers' Index data due today, as well as the United States payroll numbers at the end of the week.

Meanwhile, traders continued to assess the impact of higher borrowing costs. In a speech in Singapore on Monday, San Francisco Federal Reserve president John Williams reaffirmed his view that three rate hikes would make sense for this year.

Wall Street, which was closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday, resumed trading overnight.

Much of the STI losses yesterday came from the three banks, led by DBS Group Holdings as it dropped 1.2 per cent or 24 cents to $20.60.

United Overseas Bank slid 1.1 per cent or 26 cents to $23.09 and OCBC Bank dipped 0.3 per cent or three cents to $10.41.

Palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources fell 1.4 per cent or half a cent to 36 cents. A couple of property plays also put up a poor showing, such as CapitaLand, which eased 0.6 per cent or two cents to $3.51, and UOL, down 0.4 per cent or three cents to $6.87.

Still, a Maybank Kim Eng report has put out a "positive" call on property developers as it expects catalysts from a potential rebound in property prices.

"Strong home-buying interest could drive a sharp decline in unsold stock and allow developers to raise prices. Hence, we believe home prices can pick up even without further policy easing.

"And while the occupier market remains soft, keen interest in commercial assets has led to record prices in recent transactions. We believe developers will increasingly be valued for their investment properties," it said.

Gainers included telco Singtel, which climbed 0.3 per cent or one cent to $3.75, and Singapore Airlines, up 0.7 per cent or seven cents to $9.85.

Outside of the index, commodity trader Noble Group sank 7.3 per cent or three cents to 38 cents, as traders increased their bearish bets on the stock, according to a NetResearch Asia note.

Metro Holdings fell 1.3 per cent or 1.5 cents to $1.155. Full-year earnings for the group were down by 29 per cent.

Addvalue Technologies took the spot as the most traded counter, advancing 1.6 per cent or 0.1 cent to 6.2 cents on 165.3 million shares done.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore shares slide further in thin trading '. Print Edition | Subscribe