Bulls And Bears

STI down on latest N. Korea missile launch

Banks continue to fall on renewed worries over exposure to troubled oil and gas sector

Singapore shares fell yesterday, after North Korea fired another missile over Japan in defiance of tightening sanctions and condemnation from other countries.

The local benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) lost 11.39 points or 0.35 per cent to 3,209.56.

The index has lost 19.04 points or 0.59 per cent this week.

Shanghai also fell, losing 0.53 per cent, but other Asian markets shrugged off the day's news, with Hong Kong adding 0.11 per cent, Tokyo rising 0.52 per cent and even Seoul gaining 0.35 per cent.

Daiwa Securities' chief global strategist Hirokazu Kabeya told Reuters: "There have been reports (for a while) suggesting North Korea is preparing a missile launch, so this was by no means a surprise.

"In a way, this seems like something markets have already experienced before, thus producing a limited reaction."

Mr James Soutter, a portfolio manager at K2 Asset Management in Melbourne, told Bloomberg News: "This is more of a continuance of provocation. Hence markets won't like it, but I don't think it's necessarily the precursor to a sustained market pullback."

Keppel Corp fell five cents to $6.24, after it said it will launch an initial public offering of a United States commercial real estate investment trust on the main board of the Singapore Exchange which will be jointly sponsored by Keppel Capital and KBS Pacific Advisors.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the Reit listing is expected to raise about US$500 million (S$673 million) and is in line with Keppel's aim to grow its fund-management business.

OCBC Investment Research maintained its "buy" call on Keppel, with a target price of $7.36.

Banking stocks continued to slip, with DBS Group down 29 cents to $20.06, OCBC Bank shedding five cents to $10.95 and United Overseas Bank dropping 11 cents to $23.05.

Banking shares have been punished this year despite their solid quarterly results, amid renewed concerns about the sector's exposure to oil and gas companies, which are still bogged down by losses, weak revenues and challenges in debt repayment.

Golden Agri-Resources edged up half a cent to 39 cents after saying on Thursday it had launched a 200 kilotonne-per-year oleochemical plant in Indonesia. The plant is owned by Sinar Mas Cepsa, a joint venture between Golden Agri, the palm oil unit of Indonesia's Sinar Mas group, and Spain-based oil and gas group Cepsa.

Global Yellow Pages gained three cents to 18.2. It said on Thursday it was acquiring a plot of freehold land in Papakura, New Zealand, for NZ$38 million (S$37.2 million) which it plans to develop and sub- divide for sale. It is also considering developing residential and commercial property on part of the land.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2017, with the headline 'STI down on latest N. Korea missile launch'. Subscribe