Bulls And Bears

STI registers worst session in 3 weeks

Mood cautious amid fresh political turmoil in US; other Asian markets also down

Singapore stocks marked their worst session in three weeks yesterday, as increased political turmoil in the United States and trade tensions rattled investors.

The Straits Times Index (STI) ended in the red, declining 0.6 per cent at the opening of trading before slipping further during the day to close at 3,125.82, down 0.94 per cent or 29.64 points.

"The benchmark STI has been drifting in ebbs and flows off foreign news this week, with overall sentiment leaning towards a cautious mode," said Ms Margaret Yang, an analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore. Developments in the US-China trade negotiations, US President Donald Trump's impeachment inquiry and a softening global growth outlook are going to dominate trading for the rest of the week, Ms Yang added.

Other Asian markets also fell, with South Korea's Kospi shedding 1.32 per cent and the Nikkei 225 in Japan closing 0.36 per cent lower.

The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.9 per cent lower.

Yesterday, losers outnumbered gainers 256 to 132 on the local bourse. Total turnover was $967.82 million, with 989.81 million shares changing hands.

Industrial and financial stocks dominated losses, with conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings sliding 0.96 per cent to US$54.67 and Jardine Cycle & Carriage slumping 2.1 per cent to $30.30.

Singapore's largest lender DBS Group dropped 1.24 per cent to close at $24.73. OCBC Bank fell 1.28 per cent to $10.77, while United Overseas Bank finished at $25.38, shedding 0.7 per cent.

Declines also came from mainboard-listed Sevak and Mirach Energy, which is on the Singapore Exchange's watch list.

Shares of telecommunications service provider Sevak slumped to $2.64, down 8.97 per cent.

Mirach's share price plunged 23.91 per cent to 14 cents after the Singapore Exchange Regulation urged investors to exercise caution when dealing in the shares. It had found that a small group of individuals were responsible for almost 70 per cent of the stock's buy volume over a nearly seven-month period.

Much of the bourse's activity yesterday continued to be driven by Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and Golden Agri-Resources. The Chinese shipbuilder closed down 4.37 per cent at 98.5 cents, on trade of over 46 million shares. Golden Agri-Resources fared no better, tumbling 4.08 per cent to 23.5 cents, as close to 26 million shares changed hands.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2019, with the headline 'STI registers worst session in 3 weeks'. Print Edition | Subscribe