Bulls And Bears

STI falls 0.7%, breaks support level

Index falls to its lowest since July 9, may test support at 3,170.21 points

Tracking other Asian markets as they struggled through yet another day burdened by Chinese and Turkish economic woes, the Straits Times Index (STI) broke down a key support level and reached its lowest point since July 9 in yesterday's trading session.

After losing 22.19 points or 0.7 per cent, the index ended at 3,211.93, down from 3,234.12 the day before. Reuters analyst Gaurav Dogra said the previous support of 3,238.15 points is now expected to act as a resistance level, while the STI may go on to test the next support level of 3,170.21.

A total of 1.52 billion shares worth $1.05 billion changed hands, compared with Wednesday's 1.44 billion shares for $1.14 billion. Losers outnumbered gainers 256 to 158.

Shares of Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) lost another 1.5 cents, or 2.2 per cent, apiece to finish at $0.665, continuing a slide triggered by news of its 61 per cent fall in third-quarter profit. But the firm remains optimistic about the coming quarters and plans to ramp up its Vietnam operations.

Analysts mostly share the optimism, with 10 out of 15 maintaining "buy" calls on the stock, according to Bloomberg. OCBC analyst Deborah Ong said ThaiBev's results for the quarter were on the lower end but within expectations. "Over the longer term, we believe ThaiBev's recent expansions beyond its domestic market will continue to help drive growth," she said.

ComfortDelGro Corp saw its share price dip to $2.30, down 7 cents or 3 per cent. It announced after market close that investment management company BlackRock Inc on Tuesday cut its stake in ComfortDelGro from 7.03 per cent to 6.98 per cent, while remaining a substantial stakeholder. The transport giant still has reason for cheer as it leads gainers on the STI this year with a 19.7 per cent gain as of Wednesday, Reuters said. StarHub, down 42.1 per cent so far this year, is the top loser.

Turkey received hope of much needed relief on Wednesday with Qatar's Emir pledging to invest US$15 billion (S$20.6 billion) in the country, but more is needed to defuse the crisis, a team of DBS strategists said. "It is important for the Turkish central bank to boost its FX reserves quickly and, hence, it remains to be seen how quickly these investments would flow into Turkey," they wrote in a morning note.

China is taking steps towards cooling trade tensions with the US, when Chinese vice-commerce minister Wang Shouwen meets US representatives from the Department of Treasury later this month on the possibility of higher-level talks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2018, with the headline 'STI falls 0.7%, breaks support level '. Print Edition | Subscribe