A pullback in DBS Group Holdings yesterday following a massive two-day rally weighed down the Singapore index, but a strong showing by oil and gas counters helped offset some of the market losses.
The Straits Times Index finished 9.19 points or 0.28 per cent lower at 3,228.62, dragged down by DBS, OCBC, Wilmar International, Genting Singapore and Hongkong Land. Since Friday, DBS had soared 7.6 per cent. But the counter led the market lower, shedding 1.8 per cent or 38 cents to $20.45 after the stock went ex-dividend yesterday. OCBC, which slid 0.2 per cent or two cents to $10.16, will report its first-quarter results next Tuesday.
"The banks' rally was too fast, too strong," CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said.
Wilmar International lost nearly 2 per cent or seven cents to $3.47, while Genting Singapore dipped 2.3 per cent or 2.5 cents to $1.085.
Hongkong Land fell 0.9 per cent or seven cents to $7.68 despite a buy call from DBS Group Research. "The stock is trading 32 per cent below our assessed current net asset value," the broker said.
Meanwhile, oil and gas players Sembcorp Marine, Sembcorp Industries and Keppel Corp put on a good show, after an analyst report revived speculation of a potential merger between Keppel's offshore marine arm and SembMarine.
SembIndustries' four-day losing streak ended, and it advanced 5 per cent or 15 cents to $3.15 after posting an 11.3 per cent gain in first-quarter net profit. DBS Group Research maintained a buy call, and is optimistic about the firm's proposed strategic review of businesses.
"Since August 2015, we have flagged the potential merger between Keppel's O&M arm and SembMarine during the structural downturn. The spin-off of its marine arm could re-rate SembIndustries' undervalued utilities business currently overshadowed by the weak marine outlook," the broker said.
SembMarine jumped 9.1 per cent or 15 cents to $1.79, with 27.1 million shares traded. Keppel Corp gained 2.2 per cent or 14 cents to $6.63.
Traders are eyeing Singtel's fourth-quarter results on May 18 after rival StarHub reported disappointing first-quarter results on Wednesday, with analysts keeping to their hold or sell calls. One analyst said there were few positives other than yield while another wondered if StarHub would be able to maintain "dividends that have already been reduced once", according to NRA Capital. StarHub was flat at $2.78, while Singtel dipped 0.3 per cent or one cent to $3.73.
Penny fever continued, with Noble Group up 6.5 per cent or 0.8 cent to 13.1 cents, on trade of 357.4 million shares. Yuuzoo jumped 22.2 per cent or 1.4 cents to 7.7 cents with 97.2 million shares changing hands. Alliance Mineral Assets also jumped 22.2 per cent or seven cents to 38.5 cents, with 72.9 million shares traded. Jadason Enterprises rose 15.6 per cent or one cent to 7.4 cents, on 48.5 million shares done.