Bulls And Bears

STI falls as earnings gloom hits blue chips

Big losers include SingPost and DBS; mixed showing by tech stocks

Apple executives may have popped the bubbly after the company hit a trillion-dollar valuation, but Wall Street's overnight tech-led glee did not lift the earnings-inspired gloom in Singapore.

The Straits Times Index retreated by 20.59 points, or 0.63 per cent, to 3,265.73 - despite crossing 3,300 in an early-morning spike - as blue chips hit choppy waters in quarterly results. The benchmark index has shed 1.78 per cent this week.

Losers beat gainers 259 to 141 with 1.73 billion shares changing hands for $1.08 billion.

Singapore Post tumbled 13 cents to $1.25 after first-quarter net profit slid by 40 per cent from the year before to $18.7 million amid an exceptional fair-value loss.

DBS lost 37 cents to $26.13 a day after turning in below-forecast second-quarter earnings. Singapore's largest bank was downgraded to "hold" by both UOB Kay Hian's Jonathan Koh and CGS-CIMB's Lim Siew Khee on expectations of a limited share price upside.

United Overseas Bank fell 11 cents to $26.59, although its results, out before the opening bell, saw a second-quarter profit that beat estimates.

More happily, Sembcorp Industries ticked up one cent to $2.63, after a 47 per cent rise in second-quarter earnings. Bloomberg reported that Sembcorp and Keppel Corp may be eyeing bids for Hyflux's loss-making Tuaspring plant. Keppel dipped four cents to $6.73.

Technology stocks were mixed after the Singapore Purchasing Managers' Index showed easing manufacturing activity, including in electronics, as global trade disputes put a crimp on business sentiment.

Venture Corp gained three cents to $16.85, ahead of its after-market results announcement. But AEM Holdings shed 2.5 cents to 71 cents while Hi-P International slid six cents to $1.09.

Y Ventures Group fell one cent to 49 cents, despite an upgrade from "neutral" to "buy" from Phillip analyst Alvin Chia after a unit announced a US$50 million (S$68.4 million) initial coin offering to fund the development of a buying platform called Aora.

Communications network company Ntegrator International, which had warned of an expected loss for the six months to June 30, sprang up the actives list on churn of 19.5 million shares. It inched up 0.1 cent to 0.8 cent. Its half-year results are scheduled to be released by Aug 14.

Across the region, Shanghai lost 1 per cent and Hong Kong dipped 0.14 per cent, with Tokyo inching higher by 0.06 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'STI falls as earnings gloom hits blue chips'. Print Edition | Subscribe