Bulls And Bears

STI continues slide as investors hold back

They are seen to be waiting for earnings season; US Fed chair testimony also in focus

Singapore equities slid further yesterday, racking up their second straight day in negative territory.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) lost 9.89 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 3,208.91, as 1.42 billion shares worth $1.09 billion changed hands across the bourse.

CMC Markets Singapore market analyst Margaret Yang noted that the STI has been hovering within a well-defined range of 3,200 to 3,270 for over two months. "Investors are probably waiting for the... earnings' season which might provide fresh catalysts to drive market movements."

Blue-chip heavyweight Singtel was a drag on the index as it slid 0.3 per cent or one cent to $3.87, along with DBS Group Holdings, which fell 0.8 per cent or 17 cents to $20.60.

Warehouse operator Global Logistic Properties was flat at $2.70 in heavy trade, following a Financial Times report that said only two bidders had submitted offers for the company last week, citing unnamed sources.

One of them, Warburg Pincus, submitted a non-binding bid and may withdraw if concerns about the China operation cannot be allayed, it added.

The spotlight was also back on the potential sale of the combined stakes of OCBC Bank and Great Eastern Holdings in property group United Engineers and its subsidiary WBL Corp. They are in the final stages of discussions with a shortlisted bidder.

OCBC added 0.4 per cent or four cents to $10.83, while Great Eastern put on 0.4 per cent or 10 cents to $24.60. United Engineers last closed at $2.71 on Tuesday before trading was halted.

Beyond that, energy-related counters were in play, thanks to an uptick in oil prices. KrisEnergy, for example, shot up 8.1 per cent or one cent to 13.3 cents.

Singapore O&G received a trading query from the Singapore Exchange after plunging more than 9 per cent in the late afternoon, before recovering slightly to finish 6.6 per cent or four cents lower at 57 cents.

The day's most active counter was Blumont Group, which rocketed 100 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.2 cent on 164.2 million shares done.

Meanwhile, markets elsewhere in Asia were broadly mixed. Tokyo dropped 0.48 per cent, Shanghai eased 0.17 per cent, and Sydney took a 0.96 per cent hit.

Hong Kong was an outlier, advancing 0.64 per cent to clock its third consecutive day of gains.

Wall Street was flat overnight following a choppy session as investors fretted over the release of an e-mail chain that unveiled exchanges between United States President Donald Trump's eldest son and Russia.

But the focus remained squarely on US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen's testimony in Congress last night, which is expected to offer clues on the impending interest rate hike and the Fed's plans to reduce its balance sheet.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2017, with the headline 'STI continues slide as investors hold back'. Print Edition | Subscribe