SINGAPORE - Singapore shares closed slightly lower on Monday, after a rally in Chinese stocks helped partially offset a negative lead from Wall Street's 2.1 per cent plunge last Friday and oil prices slumping to 11-year lows.
The Straits Times Index closed 0.26 per cent or 7.29 points lower to 2,845.55.
"There was a knee-jerk reaction (yesterday) morning to Wall Street's dive. But our losses weren't too severe because of China's rally," remisier Alvin Yong said.
Shanghai rose 1.77 per cent and Shenzhen gained 0.96 per cent on speculation the government will further cut benchmark interest rates and accelerate reform of state-owned enterprises.
Weighing down the index are Singtel, which fell 2.4 per cent or nine cents to $3.67; and Keppel Corp, which lost 1.4 per cent or nine cents to $6.42.
Gainers included OCBC, which rose 0.8 per cent or seven cents to $8.75, UOB, which edged up 0.7 per cent or 14 cents to $19.24, and Golden Agri-Resources, which jumped 9.5 per cent or three cents to 34.5 cents, with 35.1 million shares traded.
Some local oil stocks rebounded despite Brent sliding as low as US$36.17 a barrel, the lowest since 2004 as production around the world remained at or near record highs. US crude sank to US$34.49 a barrel.
Rex International jumped 6 per cent or 0.5 cents to 8.8 cents, with 39.5 million shares traded; Ezion gained 5 per cent or three cents to 63 cents, with 11.4 million shares traded; Loyz Energy surged 11.8 per cent or 0.6 cents to 5.7 cents, with 15.3 million shares traded.
Ezra Holdings gained 4.2 per cent, or 0.4 cents to 9.9 cents with nearly 40 million shares traded. Its subsea services division had won contracts worth nearly US$70 million including work with a new client in the Middle East. In Asia, that division will be doing transportation and installation of nearly 10 km of pipelines for another national oil company. The project, which starts in the second quarter next year, will be managed out of Singapore.