Bulls And Bears

STI slips again as investors turn cautious

Markets awaiting central bank meetings in US and Japan next week and Brexit vote

The local market again pared recent gains yesterday, joining a region-wide rout as risk events in the coming week unnerved investors.

The benchmark Straits Times Index slid for the second day, closing down 20.83 points or 0.73 per cent at 2,822.97 points despite a relatively good start at 2,850. For the week, the STI still put on 13.74 points or 0.49 per cent, part of the 3 per cent gain over the past month. But sentiment is set to turn cautious as risk events loom in the next two weeks.

"In the coming week, we will see the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan deciding on monetary policies. The shocking (US) payrolls data derailed the probability of a rate hike (in June). What market participants will focus on is the language as well as the latest economic projections," IG market strategist Bernard Aw said.

"In my view, Brexit is the key event to watch. The result is expected to have the greatest impact on financial markets in June, even more so than the central bank meetings."

The Fed meeting outcome will be revealed on June 16, with Britain's referendum on whether or not to exit the European Union - Brexit - to be held on June 23.

Ahead of these events, the risk-off sentiment was apparent across the region. Shanghai dropped 0.3 per cent and Hong Kong shed 1.2 per cent. Tokyo closed down 0.4 per cent and Kuala Lumpur slipped 0.56 per cent.

In Singapore, the sell-off hit the blue chips hard, with 23 STI constituents ending in the red yesterday.

Top loser Sembcorp Marine closed down half a cent or 2.92 per cent at $1.66, while Keppel Corp lost 12 cents or 2.1 per cent to $5.59 even as crude oil futures Brent remained above US$51 a barrel.

The offshore and marine stocks gained 5.6 per cent in the first seven sessions of this month but have declined 9.4 per cent so far this year, the SGX data-tracking Maritime & Offshore Index showed.

Genting Singapore dropped two cents or 2.63 per cent to 74 cents amid news that Resorts World Sentosa has let go almost 400 employees. Last month, the gaming operator reported a hefty 83 per cent net profit drop for the first quarter.

Global Logistic Properties shed three cents or 1.62 per cent to $1.82 on 14.7 million shares traded. The firm was given a buy call by OCBC analyst Eli Lee, who noted that GLP's recent share buybacks are "accretive to shareholders at currently undervalued share prices".

Thai Beverage was the only STI stock on the rise, adding 1.5 cents or 1.67 per cent at 91.5 cents with 29.3 million shares changing hands - one of yesterday's top actives.

Outside the STI, Terratech Group was another top active, with 46.7 million shares traded in the first session after a trading halt since Tuesday was lifted. It dropped half a cent or 9.8 per cent to 4.6 cents, following the announcement of its reverse takeover of Malaysian developer Capital City Property.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'STI slips again as investors turn cautious'. Print Edition | Subscribe