Singapore stocks slide, regional markets rally

 A logo of the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) is pictured outside its premises in the financial district of Singapore on April 23, 2014.
A logo of the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) is pictured outside its premises in the financial district of Singapore on April 23, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore equities beat a retreat on Tuesday even as most other markets in the region rallied.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slid 36.5 points, or 1.12 per cent, to 3,227.71. A total of 1.51 billion shares worth $1.32 billion were traded across the bourse.

Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai rose 0.74 per cent, Tokyo gained 0.25 per cent and Sydney climbed 0.21 per cent. Hong Kong eased slightly by 0.14 per cent.

"What we've seen in the STI over the last few weeks was not a broad- based rally, but one that was driven by heavyweights such as the banks and the Jardine stocks," Mr Kelvin Wong, chief technical strategist for Asia at City Index, told The Straits Times.

"And if you zero in on the banks, they have been overbought, so we are definitely seeing some pullback as traders take profit off the table," he said.

Mr Wong added that the laggards in the index will need to catch up in order for the local stock market to see a more pronounced and sustainable rally.

The three local banks, which have had a stellar run in recent weeks, were a big drag on the STI yesterday.

United Overseas Bank sank 1.7 per cent or 41 cents to $23.25, while OCBC Bank lost 0.8 per cent or eight cents to $10.54. DBS Group Holdings shed 0.6 per cent or 12 cents to $20.65.

A number of property counters fell as well - likely as traders took profit on encouraging data that showed developers here sold 1,780 private homes in March, the highest since June 2013.

CapitaLand dropped 3 per cent or 11 cents to $3.50, for example.

DBS Equity Research noted in a report that positive sentiment has returned to the property market as seen in the record sales in the last two months, while developers are bringing forward new launches to catch the "euphoric" wave.