Bulls And Bears

STI stumbles as investors turn wary

Index had touched 10-year high in morning trade before sharp fall after lunch

Caution eventually got the better of investors yesterday after a bold run that sent local shares to a new 10-year high at one point.

The warier mood in the afternoon left the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) down 20.6 points or 0.58 per cent to 3,521.31.

It was a downbeat end to a day that saw the STI touch 3,561.45 in morning trade, surpassing the 10-year closing high of 3,550.21 on Tuesday.

A sharp tumble came after lunch when an intra-day low of 3,517.9 was hit as investors looked to key Chinese economic data.

This showed that China posted its first full-year pick-up in economic growth since 2010, with gross domestic product rising 6.9 per cent in 2017 compared with expansion of 6.7 per cent in 2016.

But this good news failed to inject zing into the Singapore bourse.

CMC Markets sales trader Oriano Lizza said of the local bourse: "The index is finding resistance at 3,500 after breaking through in Tuesday's session."

Blows to the STI came from all three local banks while Singapore Airlines slipped four cents to $10.99 in spite of assurances that the carrier would press on with its digital transformation this year.

City Developments lost nine cents or 0.67 per cent to $13.31 after spiking to $13.60 at the opening.

But fellow developer CapitaLand added one cent to $3.81 on trade of 13.08 million shares.

The firm announced after market close that it will explore investing in an integrated development in Wuhan, central China, after a shake-up in its Chinese retail portfolio that sparked several "buy" calls.

Manufacturer JEP Holdings was the most traded stock for the fourth day this week, with 123.47 million shares moving. The latest fuel on the fire was the announcement that UMS Holdings had upped its stake to 29.5 per cent, a day after taking a 7.48 per cent interest in the Catalist-listed company.

JEP added 0.6 cent or 8.82 per cent to 7.4 cents, while mainboard-listed UMS gained three cents or 2.91 per cent to $1.06 on 6.47 million shares.

Elsewhere, it was no surprise that the Hang Seng in Hong Kong hit a fresh peak given cheery Chinese growth figures. It was up 0.43 per cent for the day while Shanghai rose 0.87 per cent.

Seoul held steady with an uptick of 0.02 per cent while Tokyo lost 0.44 per cent, as watchers found themselves mixed on where the Japanese central bank's monetary policy might go.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2018, with the headline 'STI stumbles as investors turn wary'. Print Edition | Subscribe