Bulls And Bears

STI stumbles as Wall Street jitters continue

Index breaks two-day rally as concerns over Trump administration hold sway in the US

Local shares lost their recent momentum and joined most regional markets in a retreat, as the so-called Trump rally in the United States continued to stall.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index slid 11.33 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 3,173.24, snapping a two-day jump. Overall volume also weakened, with 1.94 billion shares worth $1.05 billion traded.

Investors here took their cue from Wall Street's ongoing sluggishness, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2 per cent overnight.

It marked the ninth time out of the last 10 sessions that the Dow has ended in the red, showing that concerns over the Trump administration still hold sway.

Back in Asia, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur all fell, with property market concerns in China dominating trading sentiment in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The fact that crude oil benchmark Brent futures stayed above US$52 a barrel - reaction to news that Libyan production has dropped - did not help sentiment in a big way. Keppel Corp was among the 19 STI stocks that fell, dropping eight cents, or 1.15 per cent, to $6.89.

Sembcorp Marine outside the STI managed to add 4.5 cents, or 2.41 per cent, to close at $1.91.

 

Jardine Matheson was the top loser among the STI components. It pared US$1.71 (S$2.40), or 2.59 per cent, to US$64.40, and CapitaLand slipped five cents, or 1.36 per cent, to $3.63, with 12.95 million traded shares.

But the property giant continued to appeal to analysts such as OCBC Bank's Eli Lee who yesterday raised his fair value estimate to $3.93.

"We like the fact that the company continues to deliver balanced results in an uncertain environment due to its diversified asset portfolio and robust recurring income streams," Mr Lee said.

Wilmar International closed down three cents, or 0.84 per cent, to $3.55. But its competitor Golden Agri-Resources led the eight STI gainers yesterday, rising half a cent, or 1.32 per cent, to 38.5 cents on 17.5 million traded shares.

DBS Group Holdings and United Overseas Bank also rose. DBS added one cent, or 0.05 per cent, to $19.30, and UOB closed up two cents, or 0.09 per cent, to $22.02. But OCBC lost ground, falling one cent, or 0.10 per cent, to $9.71.

The small and mid-cap segment was more active yesterday, as the Catalist index hit a recent high at 523.80.

The buy-in on ISR Capital might be unravelling, as it sank 0.4 cent, or 30.77 per cent, to 0.9 cent. It was still Singapore's top active, with 190.52 million shares traded.

Construction material company NSL, which ended flat at $1.745, caught CIMB analyst William Tng's attention. Mr Tng, who has not yet rated the NSL, noted the company's net cash of $430.3 million on the balance sheet.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2017, with the headline 'STI stumbles as Wall Street jitters continue'. Print Edition | Subscribe