Bulls And Bears

STI flat ahead of more blue-chip results

Banks and Genting Singapore slip, while Nam Cheong's debt woes weigh on oil and gas plays

Singapore shares ended a touch lower as investors awaited the release of a slew of results from more blue-chip firms this week.

The key Straits Times Index (STI) closed 0.1 per cent or 3.32 points in the red at 3,310.80, weighed down by OCBC Bank, DBS Group, Genting Singapore, CapitaLand and the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

OCBC lost 0.5 per cent or five cents to $11.04; DBS dipped 0.1 per cent or two cents to $21.46; Genting Singapore fell 1.8 per cent or two cents to $1.105; and SGX shed 0.7 per cent or five cents to $7.46.

CapitaLand edged down 0.8 per cent or three cents to $3.71 on profit-taking after it announced its service residence arm, The Ascott, was acquiring an 80 per cent stake in a US corporate housing provider for US$33.7 million (S$45.9 million).

"Based on Singapore's recent GDP and PMI data, its economy appears to be getting tailwinds from the global economic recovery, so earnings expectations should be positive. But so far, the six STI components including Keppel Corp that announced their earnings in recent weeks have missed forecasts," CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said.

SIA Engineering Co will release its first-quarter earnings today; OCBC Group's second-quarter results, Singapore Airlines' first-quarter results and SGX's fourth-quarter earnings are due on Thursday. United Overseas Bank and Jardine C&C's second-quarter results are due on Friday.

Meanwhile, Nam Cheong's debt woes weighed on local oil and gas plays. Last Friday, the firm asked for its shares to be suspended, after it said on Thursday it would default on its bonds and cease all other debt repayments, just three days before bond holders were due to receive a $2.4 million interest payment, in a late bid to "conserve cash".

Its controlling shareholder Tiong Su Kouk appears to have no plans to help the firm clear its debts.

"This has sparked another wave of concern over the possibility of rising debt defaults in the local oil and gas sector," Ms Yang said.

Small-cap oil and gas counters lost ground. KrisEnergy dropped 4 per cent or 0.6 cent to 14.4 cents; Ezion Holdings shed 5.5 per cent or 1.5 cents to 26 cents.

Sats closed flat at $5.08 despite first-quarter earningsbeing slightly below expectations. A broker maintained a hold call after its net profit fell 10.6 per cent to $57.3 million in the three months to June 30, compared with the same period last year. Cache Logistics Trust lost 5.3 per cent or five cents at 89 cents after its first-half year's distribution per unit of 3.6 cents came within expectations.

Active pennies included Swee Hong, which soared 28 per cent or 0.5 cent to 2.3 cents on 221.9 million shares, and Rowsley which dipped 2.9 per cent or 0.5 cent to 16.9 cents on 218.9 million shares. Advanced Systems was flat at 0.1 cent on trade of 212.7 million shares; Disa gained 7.1 per cent or 0.1 cent to 1.5 cents, with 130.1 million shares traded.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'STI flat ahead of more blue-chip results'. Print Edition | Subscribe