SINGAPORE - The slide downhill continued for local equities on Thursday (Aug 17), while markets in Asia again turned in a mixed performance.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) fell 10.07 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 3,268.88 to clock its third day in the red, with a total of 1.05 billion shares worth S$1.09 billion traded across the bourse. Elsewhere, Tokyo eased 0.14 per cent and Hong Kong retreated 0.24 per cent. But Shanghai added 0.68 per cent and Jakarta rose 0.98 per cent.
Traders in the region were largely left uninspired after minutes to the United States Federal Reserve's latest meeting showed that members were divided over the pace of future interest rate rises. A decline in crude oil prices also did little to help.
Ms Margaret Yang, CMC Markets Singapore market strategist, noted that "sluggish oil prices are likely to deliver a negative impact to the energy sector ... and place Singapore's oil and gas companies in a more difficult situation".
She cited the recent trading suspension of Ezion Holdings - now in discussions with its stakeholders and creditors - which "reminded investors of several troubled oil and gas companies, namely Swiber, Ezra and Nam Cheong, all of whom were deeply trapped by huge debts and shrinking business due to low oil prices".
Indeed, energy-related counters here took a hit. Sembcorp Industries dropped 1.7 per cent or five cents to $2.96, while its marine arm Sembcorp Marine declined 0.6 per cent or one cent to $1.575.
Outside of the STI, oil exploration and production firm Loyz Energy leapt 5.3 per cent or 0.1 cent to two cents after it delivered a net profit of US$11.4 million (S$15.5 million) in the fourth quarter, marking a full year back in the black.
The day's most traded stock was real estate firm Rowsley. It gained 3.9 per cent or 0.4 cent to 10.7 cents on 115.9 million shares done.
Other actives included Advanced Systems Automation, unchanged at 0.1 cent, and mDR, also flat, at half a cent.