STI stays up as regional markets slide

Tokyo plummets again to finish 12% down for the week; Wall St struggles to stay afloat

The Singapore stock market proved resilient yesterday even as bloodletting continued across the region.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 1.67 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 2,539.95, turning the tables on its losses from mid-day trading but still down 3.2 per cent for the shortened week.

"I don't think it was because we're strong, but it was more because the other markets are weaker," remisier Desmond Leong said, citing Japan in particular. "We've been oversold for some time already. A lot of the selling has been done, so we're seeing less of it nowadays," he said, noting that the market had also taken its lead from gains in US futures.

"It's a consolation that we're holding the course near the current short-term support level of about 2,530."

Telco SingTel was among the biggest winners, rising four cents or 1.1 per cent to $3.58. This came as the group posted a 1.7 per cent drop in net profit to $954 million for the third quarter before the markets opened.

Ascendas Reit was up strongly as well, growing four cents or 1.7 per cent to $2.35, while Sembcorp Industries advanced four cents or 1.7 per cent to $2.39.

OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank, which had sustained losses through the week, finished on a slightly more positive note. OCBC inched up one cent or 0.1 per cent to $7.46 and UOB added six cents or 0.3 per cent to $17.56. But DBS Group Holdings continued downhill, sliding 12 cents or 0.9 per cent to $13.02.

Laggards included property group CapitaLand, which sank three cents or 1.1 per cent to $2.82, and Global Logistic Properties, down 1.5 cents or 0.9 per cent to $1.595.

Technology firm The Stratech Group was the day's most active, with 70.6 million shares changing hands. The counter was flat at three cents. A total of 900.7 million shares worth $1.16 billion was traded across the bourse.

The STI's sturdy performance was one of the few bright spots in a sea of gloom.

Tokyo led a fresh rout in the region, tanking 4.8 per cent to mark a heavy 12 per cent loss for the week, while Hong Kong slid 1.2 per cent, Seoul fell 1.4 per cent and Sydney dropped 1.2 per cent.

Wall Street struggled to keep afloat amid the global selling and lost 1.6 per cent on Thursday as fears grow that central banks are running out of ideas to support ailing financial markets.

"The markets are clearly starting to price in a sharp slowdown in the world economy and even a recession in the United States," Mr Tsuyoshi Shimizu, chief strategist at Mizuho Asset Management, told Reuters.

"I do not expect a collapse or major financial crisis like the Lehman crisis, but it will take some before market sentiment will improve."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2016, with the headline 'STI stays up as regional markets slide'. Print Edition | Subscribe