Bulls And Bears

STI slides again despite news of tariff talks

Trade gloom, volatile manufacturing output data continue to weigh on market

Volatile factory output data and trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies hit sentiment here yesterday, despite reports that the United States and China have opened talks on tariffs.

The benchmark Straits Times Index lost ground for the fourth straight session, dipping 8.93 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 3,412.46.

Gainers outnumbered losers 214 to 210, with 1.37 billion shares worth $1.36 billion changing hands.

Trade started the day on a soft footing, rallied after the lunch break to an intra-day high of 3,429.75 at around 3.20pm, but a late sell-off erased the gains.

Two of the three local banks were down for the day: DBS lost 19 cents to $27.21, while OCBC dipped seven cents to $12.80. United Overseas Bank ended flat at $27.40.

Genting Singapore was the day's second-most traded stock, losing one cent to $1.09 on a volume of 35.3 million shares. Singtel was not far behind in third place on trade of 32.9 million shares. The counter shed three cents to $3.36.

HLH Group shot to the top of the actives list, with turnover of 44.5 million shares, after announcing a deal to sell its 98-room hotel in Cambodia for $15.7 million. It added 0.2 cent, or 40 per cent, to 0.7 cent.

Loss-making Ayondo, the first pure-play fintech firm to list in Singapore, closed its first day on the Catalist board at 26 cents - the same as its offer price. It had made its debut 7.7 per cent lower at 24 cents. About 12.3 million shares were traded.

Creative Technology was a big gainer, up 94 cents, or 18.2 per cent, at $6.10. Investor speculation about the prospects of a new audio product has sent the stock swinging wildly since Feb 22, when shares traded at $1.25.

Sembcorp Marine was hot on trade of almost 24 million shares, rising 14 cents, or 6.7 per cent, to $2.23, while fellow offshore and marine counters Marco Polo Marine and Falcon Energy both traded with volumes above 14 million shares.

Oil prices have been firm lately, with Brent near the US$70-a-barrel mark, as tensions mount in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia has come under missile fire from the conflict in Yemen, while US President Donald Trump's appointment of a new national security adviser has raised alarm bells over possible conflict against petrol producer Iran.

Elsewhere in the region. Hong Kong added 0.79 per cent and Tokyo, 0.72 per cent.

Seoul was up by 0.84 per cent, after the US and South Korea reached a consensus on the details of an updated bilateral trade arrangement, including a quota on Korean steel exports to America.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2018, with the headline 'STI slides again despite news of tariff talks'. Print Edition | Subscribe