Bulls And Bears

STI extends losses, but fares better than region

With Wall St closed and no updates on trade front, day lacks direction for markets

Investors had little to go on yesterday, what with Wall Street closed for Thanksgiving and no updates from the trade front.

Worries about China's possible reaction to the Hong Kong pro-democracy Bill being passed in the United States may have kept some traders occupied, but generally, the day lacked direction.

The sense of drift across the market left the Straits Times Index (STI) to drift lower, extending losses from Thursday, although it fared better than most of its regional peers.

The benchmark closed at 3,193.92, easing 6.69 points, or 0.2 per cent - leaving it down 1 per cent for the week and 1.1 per cent for the month.

Elsewhere, markets were splattered in red, with Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan all posting losses. The Hang Seng fared the worst, dropping 2 per cent.

AxiTrader chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes said: "There are far too many combinations of headline risk to navigate, which, for today's session, is bringing about a bit of randomness."

He felt market participants were likely to have become "a tad jittery" about ending this month with no mini deal in place and little idea of when trade talks will take place next.

Traders are hoping for some progress before Christmas, especially since tariffs on US$160 billion (S$218.6 billion) worth of Chinese goods are due to kick in on Dec 15.

Volumes here hit 1.05 billion shares worth $1.24 billion, with losers outpacing gainers 188 to 167.

Golden Agri-Resources was the STI's most active, with 99.7 million shares done. It added 2.4 per cent to 21.5 cents.

Rumours that Thai Beverage may list its brewing business here saw its shares add 5 per cent before trading was halted shortly after the commencement of the later session.

The food and beverage giant's shares last traded 2.9 per cent higher at 89 cents. Bloomberg wrote that ThaiBev may seek to value the unit at as much as US$10 billion.

Accordia Golf Trust surged after it received a non-binding proposal from an unidentified party, which might result in the trust selling its interests in all of its golf courses.

Accordia, trading on a cum-dividend basis, closed 16.7 per cent up at 70 cents.

Local technology listings were another bright spot.

AEM Holdings advanced 5.3 per cent to $1.80 after DBS initiated coverage on the test handler with a "buy" recommendation.

Meanwhile, UMS Holdings added 1.7 per cent to 90.5 cents, while the STI's Venture Corp gained 0.8 per cent to $15.87.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2019, with the headline 'STI extends losses, but fares better than region'. Print Edition | Subscribe