S'pore shares slip for second straight day

Sentiment remains weak, following punitive actions on banks over 1MDB scandal

Singapore shares sank deeper into the red again yesterday amid a mixed showing from other markets in Asia.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slipped 14.11 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 2,856.13.

Sentiment was little helped by news that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has ordered Falcon Private Bank to shut down operations here while DBS and UBS were both fined over lapses related to the 1MDB scandal.

Elsewhere, Tokyo advanced 1 per cent on a weaker yen, while Hong Kong fell 1.3 per cent, dragged down largely by real estate stocks as a number of Chinese cities unveiled tightening measures to cool the property market.

Shanghai, which has resumed trading following a week-long holiday, added 0.6 per cent. Seoul dropped 1.2 per cent after South Korea's Samsung asked retail partners to stop sales and exchanges of its Galaxy Note7 smartphones. Wall Street added 0.49 per cent on Monday along with a rally in oil prices.

Only three of the 30 STI constituents rose while 24 fell.

All three local banks finished lower, with DBS Group Holdings sliding one cent or 0.1 per cent to $15.37. United Overseas Bank lost two cents or 0.1 per cent to $18.77 and OCBC Bank fell three cents or 0.3 per cent to $8.66.

Stocks outside of the STI saw more buzz. The day's most heavily traded was Noble Group, down 1.3 cents or 6.6 per cent to 18.5 cents on 345.3 million shares done.

SunMoon Food, a fresh fruit and dehydrated produce company, continued to extend gains in heavy trade, jumping one cent or 9.5 per cent to 11.5 cents.

Energy-related plays also stood out, due in part to the overnight boost in oil prices. Oil and gas producer KrisEnergy surged 3.6 cents or 25.2 per cent to 17.9 cents on market talk of a possible takeover, which sparked a query from the Singapore Exchange.

Ezion Holdings sank 1.5 cents or 4.1 per cent to 35.5 cents and Ezra Holdings lost 0.1 cent or 1.6 per cent to 6.1 cents.

Developer Sim Lian Group suspended trading of its shares yesterday morning after the percentage of its stock held in public hands dropped below 10 per cent at the close of a privatisation offer by the group's controlling Kuik family.

About 2.25 billion shares worth just $990.2 million changed hands across the bourse yesterday.

"Stocks here have languished in a reflection of the restructuring the domestic economy is currently undergoing," said KGI Fraser Securities trading strategist Nicholas Teo.

"Correspondingly, the region's markets have offered better returns as economies there have taken a better shape."

But Mr Teo added that the region's (Asean ex-Singapore) relative attractiveness has begun to falter slightly, which could see the Singapore market and the STI benefit.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore shares slip for second straight day'. Print Edition | Subscribe