Markets down on Wall Street blues

Regional traders take cue as US stocks turn negative on prospect of more rate hikes

Markets slipped yesterday as investors digested the prospect of more interest rate hikes in the United States. Wall Street's three main indexes fell, giving regional traders the cue to send markets here lower as well.

The greenback edged up on expectation of higher rates through the year. The US Federal Reserve's latest rate hike is the eighth increase since it began normalising policy in December 2015.

CMC market analyst Margaret Yang noted that the Fed had been communicating intensively to the market about the September rate hike and that the event has been "fully priced in". She added that within the Asian markets, investors are "leaving the trade noises behind" to focus on fundamentals that are solid, including earnings.

The benchmark Straits Times Index finished slightly lower yesterday. It retreated 0.1 per cent to 3,236.26 yesterday. Losers outnumbered gainers 201 to 188 with 1.2 billion shares worth $1.01 billion changing hands.

The telcos stole the show as Keppel Corp and Singapore Press Holdings announced a buyout offer for the rest of M1, though reports indicated that M1's largest shareholder, Axiata, might reject the offer. StarHub rose 6.2 per cent to $1.88 and Singtel added 0.6 per cent to $3.21. M1, which closed last Friday at $1.63, resumes trading today.

Creative Technology's newly launched Super X-Fi amp headphone amplifier helped the stock add 2 per cent to $6.35.

Meanwhile, the STI laggards included Genting Singapore, which lost 1.9 per cent to $1.04, while UOB dipped 1.1 per cent to $26.85 and OCBC shed 0.3 per cent to $11.36.

DBS bucked the trend with a 0.4 per cent rise to $25.94.

Delong Holdings added 1.2 per cent to $6.95 on the back of news that chief executive and executive chairman Ding Liguo will launch a privatisation bid for the Chinese steelmaker in a voluntary conditional cash offer of $7 per share.

Sabana Reit gained 4.7 per cent to 44 cents after the trust said it was selling a data centre in Tai Seng to Ascendas-Singbridge Group for $99.6 million.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets closed mixed. Hong Kong ticked down 0.36 per cent with property firms hit by news that three of the city's largest banks had lifted lending rates for the first time in 12 years after the Fed hike. Shanghai shares fell 0.54 per cent while Japan's Topix was down 1.18 per cent. However, South Korea's Kospi added 0.7 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2018, with the headline 'Markets down on Wall Street blues '. Subscribe