Mar 14, 2014

    Commodity blues weigh down STI

    SINGAPORE shares fell for a second straight session yesterday, weighed down by profit-taking in commodity counters.

    Investor sentiment also soured on fresh Chinese economic data pointing to a deepening slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 16.04 points to close at 3081.39.

    SIA Engineering was among the top five losers in the index, shedding 1.85 per cent to $4.78 - its biggest daily decline in a month.

    Brokerage Maybank Kim Eng said a weaker performance by Hong Kong Aero Engine Services, which is 10 per cent owned by SIA Engineering, put pressure on the counter.

    The brokerage maintained its "buy" rating on SIA Engineering, but trimmed its target price to $5.75 from $5.88.

    "The STI is now trading at a crucial level. It failed to close above the 200-day moving average of 3,148, which means, on a technical front, there may be further correction," CMC Markets analyst Kenny Kan said.

    Remisier Alvin Yong noted that China's latest domestic spending and industrial output data missed estimates, heightening concerns over whether it can reach its headline target of 7.5 per cent growth.

    Mainland industrial output slowed to 8.6 per cent, from 9.7 per cent in December. Fixed-asset investment fell to 17.9 per cent year-on-year, down from 19.6 per cent in December, and retail sales slid to 11.8 per cent from 13.1 per cent in December.

    The data comes on the heels of soft trade figures, which showed exports tumbling 18.1 per cent last month, from a year earlier.

    On the local bourse, the top active stocks included DBS Group Holdings, which shed 0.32 per cent to close at $15.80, with 8.71 million shares changing hands.

    Keppel Corp fell 1.69 per cent to $10.45 a share, with 5.5 million shares traded, while Global Logistic Properties, a provider of logistic facilities in China, Japan and Brazil, dropped 2.13 per cent to close at $2.76, with 16.5 million shares done.

    Golden Agri-Resources fell 2.5 per cent to 59.5 cents, with 53.97 million shares traded.

    Wilmar International fell 1.7 per cent to $3.41, on 12.5 million shares. Noble Group continued to weaken, falling 1.87 per cent to $1.05, with 19.8 million shares changing hands.

    Olam International, which has seen a strong run-up in its share price over the past month, called a share trading halt yesterday. Its last-traded price was $1.995.