Bulls And Bears

STI falls amid Opec's move to extend cuts

Market weighed down by weaker oil and gas counters, as well as a pullback in banks

Singapore shares finished lower, hammered by negative sentiment over oil as Opec's move to extend its output cuts came in below market expectation.

The Straits Times Index ended 0.46 per cent, or 14.95 points, lower at 3,219.42, but managed to eke out a 0.08 per cent gain for the week.

Oil tumbled more than 5 per cent on Thursday to US$48.50 per barrel before rebounding to US$51.34 yesterday, after a meeting of Opec and non-Opec producers ended in an agreement to extend the 1.8 million barrels a day cuts by nine months.

"The reason for the sell-off was simple. There had been so much reported on the agreement in the weeks leading up to the meeting that it had been fully priced in. Once speculation became reality, there were no more gains to be had," said Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam.

The market was weighed down by weaker oil and gas counters and a pullback in banks. Sembcorp Industries slipped 1.3 per cent, or four cents, to $3.15; SembMarine shed 1.2 per cent, or two cents, to $1.69; and Keppel Corp dipped 1.1 per cent, or seven cents, to $6.51. Jardine Cycle & Carriage lost 1.2 per cent, or 52 cents, to $44.36.

"The volume was thinner than usual. Buyers were waiting for a selloff, while sellers weren't willing to sell. So there was a bit of a tug of war," said CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang.

Banks gave up some gains after a recent run-up. DBS Group Holdings fell 1.1 per cent, or 24 cents, to $20.80; while OCBC Bank dipped 0.4 per cent, or four cents, to $10.43.

But property counters Hongkong Land jumped 1.1 per cent, or eight US cents, to US$7.48; City Developments gained 1 per cent, or 11 cents, to $10.60; and UOL Group edged up 0.1 per cent, or one cent, to $6.94.

Meanwhile, Haw Par Corp and Delong Holdings got queries from the Singapore Exchange on unusual price movement in their stocks.

Haw Par rose 2.3 per cent, or 25 cents, to $11.03. It said it could not explain the trading activity, but added that its board, investment committee and management constantly explore and review opportunities and strategic options for the group.

Delong, whose stock gained 1.3 per cent, or two cents, to $1.55, told SGX it is in talks with certain parties relating to a potential collaboration.

Beleaguered commodity trader Noble Group received a fresh blow as Fitch Ratings cut its credit rating for a second time in just 10 days, flagging concerns over its ability to address about US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) of debt maturing over the next 12 months. It closed flat at 42 cents, with 64.9 million shares traded.

Other actively traded counters included ISR Capital, which fell 12.5 per cent, or 0.1 cent, to 0.7 cents, with 132.8 million shares traded. Addvalue Technologies gained 4.8 per cent, or 0.3 cent, to 6.5 cents, with 126.6 million shares on trade. Disa rose 3.8 per cent, or 0.1 cent, to 2.7 cents, with 83 million shares traded.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 27, 2017, with the headline 'STI falls amid Opec's move to extend cuts'. Print Edition | Subscribe