Singapore shares falter as macroeconomic uncertainty lingers, STI down 0.5%

The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 0.5 per cent or 14.78 points to 2,858.02. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore stocks ended Thursday in the red as investors remained generally cautious about Brexit talks, vaccine news and a US stimulus package. In Singapore, a 4.9 per cent year-on-year fall in non-oil domestic exports (NODX) also contributed to bearish investor sentiment.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) fell 0.5 per cent or 14.78 points to 2,858.02. On the broader market, decliners edged out advancers 205 to 202, after 2.04 billion securities worth S$1.13 billion changed hands.

Over at Wall Street, indices ended Wednesday's session on mixed grounds. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq added 0.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

The Federal Reserve at its latest meeting said it would continue to keep interest rates near zero to support the economy amid a surge in Covid-19 cases, and remains committed to buying bonds to help employment and inflation figures.

Said Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam: "The central bank did commit to maintaining its already highly accommodative stance for longer than it previously had though so I guess this was an easing, of sorts, albeit not the knockout blow many had hoped for."

Only nine out of the 30 constituent stocks ended in the black. Sembcorp Industries was the biggest advancer, gaining 1.7 per cent or S$0.03 to finish the day at S$1.75. ComfortDelGro was another advancer, adding 1.2 per cent or S$0.02 to S$1.74.

On the other end of the spectrum, Genting Singapore emerged the biggest decliner among the STI stocks. The counter lost 2.3 per cent or S$0.02 to S$0.87. With some 37.7 million shares traded over the course of the day, it was also one of the most heavily traded constituents.

The trio of lenders were also among the biggest losers. DBS lost 0.7 per cent or S$0.19 to S$25.37; OCBC fell 1.4 per cent or S$0.14 to S$10.09; and UOB shed 0.6 per cent or S$0.14 to S$22.85.

Other decliners include Nanofilm Technologies, which lost 1.8 per cent or S$0.08 to S$4.35; and Venture Corporation which slipped 0.3 per cent or S$0.05 to close at S$19.47.

Across the region, markets finished Thursday mixed. The Nikkei 225 closed 0.2 per cent higher; the Hang Seng Index added 0.8 per cent, and the SSE Composite Index rose 1.1 per cent. The KLCI and Jakarta Composite Index, however, lost 0.4 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.

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