BullsAndBears

STI down 0.5% amid lingering macroeconomic uncertainty

Fall in non-oil domestic exports adds to bearish sentiment; Sembcorp Industries biggest gainer; Genting S'pore, banks fall; Investors cautious about Brexit talks, vaccine news, US stimulus

Singapore stocks ended yesterday in the red as investors remained generally cautious about Brexit talks, vaccine news and a United States stimulus package.

In Singapore, a 4.9 per cent year-on-year fall in non-oil domestic exports also contributed to bearish investor sentiment.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) fell 14.78 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 2,858.02. On the broader market, decliners edged out advancers 205 to 202, with 2.04 billion securities worth $1.13 billion changing hands.

The Federal Reserve at its latest meeting said it would continue to keep interest rates near zero to support the economy amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, and remains committed to buying bonds to help employment and inflation figures.

Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam said: "The central bank did commit to maintaining its already highly accommodative stance for longer than it previously had though, so I guess this was an easing of sorts, albeit not the knockout blow many had hoped for."

Only nine out of the 30 STI constituent stocks ended in the black.

Sembcorp Industries was the biggest advancer, gaining 1.7 per cent to finish the day at $1.75. ComfortDelGro was another advancer, adding 1.2 per cent to $1.74.

Genting Singapore emerged as the biggest decliner, losing 2.3 per cent to 87 cents. With some 37.7 million shares traded, it was also one of the most heavily traded.

The three local lenders were also among the biggest losers. DBS lost 0.7 per cent to $25.37, OCBC Bank fell 1.4 per cent to $10.09, and United Overseas Bank shed 0.6 per cent to $22.85.

Across the region, markets finished mixed yesterday.

The Nikkei 225 closed 0.2 per cent higher, the Hang Seng Index added 0.8 per cent, and the SSE Composite Index rose 1.1 per cent. The KLCI and Jakarta Composite Index, however, lost 0.4 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2020, with the headline 'STI down 0.5% amid lingering macroeconomic uncertainty'. Print Edition | Subscribe