STI slips as regional markets stay wary on China property sector

The Straits Times Index was down 9.58 points or 0.3 per cent to 3,188.50.
The Straits Times Index was down 9.58 points or 0.3 per cent to 3,188.50.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Local investors already have enough on their plate but the travails of China's property sector just won't go away and helped turn the market south on Thursday.

The wary mood sent the Straits Times Index (STI) down 9.58 points or 0.3 per cent to 3,188.50, after recovering some lost ground in the last trading hour.

Losers beat gainers marginally 240 to 236 on the broader market on trade of 1.9 billion shares worth $964.14 million.

The focus of concern remains Evergrande, the world's most leveraged property player, and its struggles to avoid default, which could come as early as Monday.

The firm's woes appeared to be weighing on markets right across in Asia, said analyst Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

He noted that the Hong Kong-listed Evergrande and the China property sector appeared to have affected investor sentiment in the region, while an overnight weak Nasdaq performance had a negative impact on the closely correlated North Asian heavyweights.

Singapore banks UOB, OCBC and DBS all closed lower, as did over a dozen STI stocks.

Malaysian glove maker Top Glove came onto the radar of investors when its Malaysia-listed rival Supermax became the latest to be banned by the United States for alleged forced labour practices, although such a ban on Top Glove's products were recently lifted.

Top Glove still tumbled 2.19 per cent to 89.5 cents.

Builder King Wan was the most traded, jumping 11.77 per cent to 5.7 cents amid a turnover of 176.3 million shares.

It recently announced a joint venture that would mainly provide retrofitting and upgrading solutions, as well as system integration services using Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things.

Asian markets closed mainly down but it was more mixed on Wall Street overnight with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.4 per cent after briefly hitting a record high while the S&P 500 added 0.4 per cent, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 0.1 per cent.