STI tumbles 1.1% as uncertainty in US, Europe spooks investors

Covid-19's resurgence, jitters over US polls cause for concern; Wall Street's big tech bounce makes no positive impact here; Keppel Corp only STI counter up yesterday, jumping 3%

Singapore shares extended their losses yesterday, capping a bruising week riddled with consternation over a renewed Covid-19 wave in the United States and Europe, lockdown fears and US pre-election jitters. Investors were too spooked to even cheer Wall Street's big tech bounce overnight.

The key Straits Times Index (STI) tumbled 26.84 points or 1.1 per cent to 2,423.84 to log a five-day losing streak. Week on week, the STI has shed nearly 114 points or 4.5 per cent; for the year, it is in the red by 25 per cent.

Regional bourses were awash in losses too as risk-off sentiments dominated trading. Key gauges in Japan and China fell 1.5 per cent. Hong Kong retreated nearly 2 per cent. Malaysia and Taiwan dipped 1.9 per cent and 1 per cent respectively. The biggest loser was South Korea, with its sharpest loss for the month of 2.6 per cent.

After a significant sell-off the previous day, US stocks rallied overnight, fuelled by stronger-than-expected Q3 gross domestic product data and as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google and Twitter posted stellar quarterly results.

But volatility has risen. VIX - the stock market's fear gauge, which has been below the pandemic-era average of 30 for the past six weeks - went above the psychologically important 40 mark prior to Thursday. Ahead of the Nov 3 US election, analysts are not ruling out the VIX passing this level, given the stimulus impasse, rising infections and the chance of a disputed election result.

Overall trading volume in the Singapore market stood at 1.72 billion shares worth $1.91 billion. Among the STI constituents, just one stock - Keppel Corp - was up, and 28 were down. Keppel far outperformed the STI, jumping 12 cents or nearly 3 per cent to $4.39.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2020, with the headline 'STI tumbles 1.1% as uncertainty in US, Europe spooks investors'. Print Edition | Subscribe