Bulls And Bears

STI ends flat as traders stay on sidelines

Markets in the Asia-Pacific also mostly down amid cautious trading

Sentiment in the Singapore market was generally risk-off yesterday. Investors took to profit-taking on property-related counters that have rallied, but dips in stocks with heavier exposures to Hong Kong left the blue-chip index nearly unchanged.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,222.63, up 1.97 points or 0.06 per cent yesterday. For the week, it advanced 56.34 points or 1.8 per cent from the previous Friday's close of 3,166.29. Investors remained concerned over the uncertainty of US-China trade relations, the Hong Kong protests and attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

In the Asia-Pacific, Australia and Japan were up, while China, Hong Kong and Malaysia were down. The Hang Seng dropped 0.7 per cent yesterday, weighed down by weak Chinese industrial production data and effects of protests in the territory.

CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said: "As the protest against the Hong Kong extradition Bill continues, more businesses and schools are getting affected. Things may move into polarised scenarios, which create risk and uncertainties that investors dislike."

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 773.11 million securities, 65 per cent of the daily average in the first five months of the year. Total turnover was $893.3 million, 86 per cent of the January-to-May daily average. Across the market, decliners pipped advancers 208 to 170.

The index had 11 of the STI's 30 components in the red. Sembcorp Industries slid one cent or 0.4 per cent to $2.37 and Sembcorp Marine fell two cents or 1.3 per cent to $1.47. Keppel Corp was flat at $6.30.

Black gold headed south on Wednesday after the US stockpile rose but reversed those dips a day later on supply concerns emanating from the attacks in the Gulf of Oman. As expected, the US blamed Iran for the attacks, while Teheran called the timing "suspicious".

Property counters and real estate investment trusts were mostly up this week on expectations of a rate cut by the US Federal Reserve. Reits, investors' main picks recently due to dovish Fed rate-hike expectations, saw profit-taking yesterday. CapitaLand Commercial Trust fell two cents or 1 per cent to $2.06; Mapletree Logistics Trust was flat at $1.58.

City Developments shed six cents or 0.6 per cent to end at $9.36. The company caught much attention this week, with the market taking positively to its second takeover offer for its London-listed subsidiary Millennium & Copthorne Hotels with a higher cash offer of 685 pence a share. The counter is up 10.5 per cent on the week.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2019, with the headline 'STI ends flat as traders stay on sidelines'. Print Edition | Subscribe