STI starts week on low note

The key Straits Times Index's losses snubbed a strong showing in Wall Street. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore shares began the week on cautious footing, and fell 0.56 per cent to finish at 3,182.41 on Monday.

The key Straits Times Index's losses snubbed a strong showing in Wall Street on Friday, which was buoyed by expectations that interest rates would remain low following the release of poor US jobs data.

Elsewhere, the regional bourses ended mixed. Key gauges in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia finished lower, and those in China, Japan, South Korea and Australia eked out gains.

Mr Hussein Sayed, FXTM chief market strategist, said: "While the trajectory continues to show improvement in the labour market, the US may not return to full employment by next year if the jobs recovery starts to show fragility. For investors, this is not necessarily bad news. In fact, it should be seen as positive for risk assets and negative for the US currency,"

Turnover on the local bourse came in at 2.12 billion units worth S$1.15 billion. Losses were led by Venture Corp and DBS.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) rebounded on Monday, closing higher by 3.3 per cent to S$1.57. This followed last Friday's fall after the counter resumed trading following a halt for it to unveil a proposed restructuring to carve out the media business into a company limited by guarantee (CLG).

Genting Singapore fell 1.18 per cent to 84 Singapore cents. In a business update last Friday, the owner and operator of Resorts World Sentosa reported a 26 per cent dip in first-quarter net profit after tax to S$34.5 million as operations continued to be weighed down by the pandemic.

Despite the potential slower pick-up in business momentum, CIMB-CGS Research reiterated its "add" rating, given the company's strong balance sheet.

OCBC, the only gainer among the three banking stalwarts, added one Singapore cent or 0.08 per cent to S$12.57. Following the bank's recently-issued strong showing in the first quarter, Maybank Kim Eng has raised the counter's target price to S$14.17 on the back of strong capital and allowances and better-than-expected asset quality.

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