Bulls And Bears

S'pore stocks slip for 8th straight session

CityDev is only blue chip gainer, with markets in Asia also posting losses

Singapore shares kept sliding downhill yesterday, in line with broader losses in the region as worries over the global economy resurfaced.

The Straits Times Index (STI) logged its eighth consecutive session in the red, falling 38.13 points, or 1.36 per cent, to 2,773.07.

This mirrored the downbeat sentiment on Wall Street, which slipped 0.8 per cent overnight amid volatility in the oil market and dull corporate earnings.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai was flat, dipping 0.1 per cent. A private survey showed China's manufacturing activity again shrinking in April amid stagnant demand, which only added to the lack of conviction over the country's economic recovery.

Hong Kong shed 0.7 per cent to reach a three-week low, Seoul pared 0.5 per cent and Sydney retreated 1.5 per cent. Tokyo remained closed for the Golden Week holiday, which runs until today.

"In a now familiar theme, traders are becoming concerned about the possibility that the next volatile market swing, in this case downwards, may not be too far away," Mr Ric Spooner, chief market analyst in Sydney at CMC Markets, told Bloomberg.

"Both US stock market valuations and commodity prices have risen to levels that could be difficult to sustain against the ongoing reality of sluggish global demand growth."

Of the 30 STI constituents, 27 counters clocked losses, led by telco Singtel, which fell seven cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $3.76 in heavy trade.

Palm oil giant Wilmar International was also one of the day's biggest losers, dropping 12 cents, or 3.3 per cent, to $3.51.

Among the banks, DBS Group Holdings was unchanged at $15.35, while both OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank finished weaker.

An RHB Research report noted that DBS, which posted a $1.2 billion net profit for the first quarter on Tuesday, "surprised" the market with a strong improvement in net interest margin and a smaller-than-expected fall in non-interest income. "We expect DBS to deliver sustained core net profit in 2016 versus projected 4 to 6 per cent year-on-year declines for peers," it said, reiterating a "buy" call on the stock.

Developer City Developments was the only STI gainer, rising five cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $8.26.

The day's most active was Ezra Holdings, with turnover of 46.1 million units. The offshore and marine counter sank 0.3 cent, or 3 per cent, to 9.6 cents.

Singapore Post climbed one cent, or 0.6 per cent, to $1.59. The group on Tuesday night announced that its director, Mr Keith Tay, plans to leave the board by the end of May, earlier than previously stated.

A corporate governance special audit report took Mr Tay to task for disclosure lapses, but found that they were not intentional.

A total of 897.5 million shares worth $1.23 billion changed hands across the bourse.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore stocks slip for 8th straight session'. Print Edition | Subscribe