Bulls And Bears

STI dips amid mixed day for regional bourses

Investors still trying to get a grip on ever-evolving US-China trade spat

It was another mixed day across the region as investors tried to get a grip on the ever-evolving trade spat between China and the United States.

Local shares took a minor hit in line with other bourses but there were some winners on the day, depending on where they were in the news cycle.

Asian indexes went into the red in early trading after a Bloomberg report noted that the US would put tariffs on all Chinese imports if November talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping did not bear fruit.

But US President Donald Trump contradicted that, saying the US could get a "great" deal on trade with China, remarks that erased early losses in many Asian markets.

Last week's sell-offs in China appear to be temporarily stemmed as regulators moved again to stabilise the market, this time by encouraging share buybacks and mergers and acquisitions by listed firms.

The measures sent the Shanghai Composite up 1 per cent but the yuan sank to a new 10-year low to the greenback.

The Nikkei closed higher thanks to a dip in the yen against the US dollar. The ASX 200, Kospi and the Kuala Lumpur Composite also finished up but Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.9 per cent to its lowest since early May last year.

The Straits Times Index (STI) dipped as well, down 15.09 points or 0.5 per cent to 2,966.45, with all but eight of the 30 constituent counters closing lower.

Turnover was 1.93 billion shares worth $985 million, with losers beating gainers 266 to 132.

CMC market analyst Margaret Yang said: "Investors are waiting for big corporate results from OCBC, Sembcorp Industries, DBS and Venture ... to paint a clearer picture."

Genting Singapore was the most hotly traded counter, down 1.7 per cent to 86 cents on a turnover of 34.6 million shares.

 

The STI's biggest loser - contract manufacturer Venture Corporation - slipped 4.4 per cent to $14.65, a 52-week low. It has fallen more than 50 per cent from its peak of $29.51 in mid-April due in part to the US-China trade war affecting semiconductor industries worldwide.

Commodities trader Noble Group lost 3.5 per cent to 8.3 cents after saying on Monday evening that it expected a third-quarter net loss of US$90 million (S$125 million) to US$115 million.

It was a mixed day for banks. DBS lost 1 per cent to $22.80, UOB fell 0.6 per cent to $24 but OCBC gained 0.8 per cent to $10.50.

Ms Yang noted: "Retail investors were the biggest buyers over past weeks whereas institutional investors seemed much more cautious with their cash in hand."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2018, with the headline 'STI dips amid mixed day for regional bourses'. Print Edition | Subscribe