Singapore stocks close a hair’s breadth lower on Thursday; STI down 0.1%

In the wider Singapore market, gainers outnumbered losers 321 to 249, with 1.6 billion securities worth $1 billion traded. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – Local shares clawed back some ground lost in early trading on Thursday but still closed a smidgen down.

The Straits Times Index (STI) kept losses to just 0.06 per cent, or 1.98 points, to close at 3,219, with gainers outnumbering losers 321 to 249 on the wider market on trade of 1.6 billion shares worth $1 billion.

Losses overnight on Wall Street of around 1.7 per cent following another rate rise were uppermost in the minds of investors here, not to mention ongoing bank concerns.

“The overarching message from the (US Federal Reserve) was that any further devolution in the banking sector turmoil would be a crucial determinant of the next policy step,” said SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes.

“Ultimately, increasing uncertainty – especially at the US Fed – tends to produce adverse economic effects.

“Hence, market sentiment typically turns sour until some semblance of policy certainty returns.”

But Singapore’s lower-than-expected inflation figures for February helped to buoy investor sentiment.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the biggest winner among STI’s constituent stocks, gaining 4.2 per cent to $1.25. The counter was also the most actively traded on the blue-chip index, with about 30.6 million shares changing hands.

Singtel was another heavily traded STI stock, with 26.2 million shares transacted. The counter ended 0.4 per cent lower at $2.40.

Real estate investment trusts (Reits) and property players were among the worst performers on STI on Thursday.

Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust was at the bottom of the table, falling 1.1 per cent to close at $1.75, while Keppel DC Reit shed 1 per cent and CapitaLand Ascendas Reit dipped 0.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, Hongkong Land and CapitaLand Investment each lost 0.9 per cent.

The three local banks all finished lower as well. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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