Bulls And Bears

STI dips for fourth straight day

S'pore counters see mixed earnings as China trade figures for July fail to meet expectations

The Straits Times Index (STI) dipped for a fourth straight session - though only by a tad - as a cautious mood persisted ahead of the National Day holiday trading break.

The benchmark STI shed 2.59 points or 0.08 per cent to finish at 3,318.08. The stumble in local equities at the height of the earnings season was aggravated by sour news on the world front, as China clocked July trade figures that were below expectations.

DBS Group shares again lost ground, sliding 13 cents, or 0.62 per cent, to close at $21.02. The three-day decline came amid continued pessimism over asset quality pressure, despite a rise in second-quarter net profit.

SingPost also continued to feel the heat from last Friday's announcement of an earnings drop. Its shares inched down by one cent, or 0.76 per cent, to close at $1.30.

Singtel shed four cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $3.77, while CapitaLand ended lower by five cents, or 1.3 per cent, at $3.76.

Electronics-maker Venture Corporation, on the other hand, saw sustained gains after posting positive earnings last Friday. The counter jumped 81 cents, or 5.4 per cent, to end the day at $15.70 after hitting a high of $15.80 in the late afternoon.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding jumped by seven cents, or 4.7 per cent, to close at $1.555 after announcing a 73 per cent cent surge in second-quarter net profit.

OCBC Investment Research analyst Low Pei Han wrote in a morning update: "Prior to this set of results, we had a hold rating, and our fair value estimate of $1.18 is under review, pending an analyst briefing." The company's performance, she noted, was in line with OCBC expectations but "higher than the street's expectations", as per a Bloomberg consensus.

Overall, CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang flagged "mixed earnings results and profit-taking activities among banks, property and offshore names" as drags on local stocks.

Elsewhere in Asia, Chinese exports were up by 7.2 per cent in July from the year before, missing analysts' forecast of 10.9 per cent. The world's second-largest economy also announced yesterday that imports grew by 11 per cent, lower than the predicted 16.6 per cent.

These numbers did not subdue Hong Kong shares, where positive earnings and strong steel prices nudged the Hang Seng up by 0.59 per cent. The Shanghai Composite was a hair's breadth higher, up by 0.07 per cent while Shenzhen rose by 0.37 per cent.

But South Korea, which trades heavily with its neighbour, saw Seoul shares edge downwards by 0.17 per cent.

Meanwhile, gains in the US dollar - driven by last week's strong jobs figures - may be receding as traders anticipate news of tepid inflation numbers on Friday. The greenback's softening against the yen drove the Nikkei lower by 0.3 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'STI dips for fourth straight day'. Print Edition | Subscribe