Investors wary of HK unrest
LETHARGY continued to put a dampener on the local stock market yesterday, with turnover slumping to the lowest level since Boxing Day.
Investors stayed out of the action, causing the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) to slide 2.49 points or 0.1 per cent to 3,289.72.
But the headline number was turnover, with just 979 million shares worth a total of $617.4 million changing hands - the lowest since Dec 26, when only $601.5 million worth of shares were traded in a holiday lull.
Investors could not be enticed to buy yesterday despite positive United States economic data that showed that the economy grew by 4.6 per cent, better than the 4.2 per cent initial forecast, in the second quarter that helped the Dow and Nasdaq to close 1 per cent higher on Friday.
Investors here also cast a wary eye on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which disrupted businesses in the city.
The Hang Seng Index fell 449.2 points or 1.9 per cent to 23,229.21.
Singapore-listed firms exposed to the Hong Kong market also came under pressure.
Among the most affected were several Hong Kong-based stocks from the Jardine stable.
Jardine Matheson closed 82 US cents (S$1.04) lower to US$59.14 yesterday, Jardine Strategic lost 64 US cents to US$34.83, while Hong Kong land declined seven US cents to US$6.78.
The three STI component firms dragged the index down by more than six points.
Local banks with operations in Hong Kong had mixed performances. DBS and OCBC temporarily halted some operations there while United Overseas Bank said its franchise was still open for business.
DBS was unchanged at $18.52, OCBC rose two cents to $9.75 while UOB dropped six cents to $22.56.
Property developer OUE added a cent to $2.17 after it said it will invest US$200 million in a GIC-backed fund, Nuvest Real Return Fund.
OCBC Investment Research analyst Eli Lee kept OUE's buy call. "Overall, we are neutral on this move and prefer management to return excess capital not earmarked for allocation into the group's core businesses over the medium to long term.
"That said, taking into account the investment size and terms, this investment appears fairly liquid."
Offshore marine player Nam Cheong gained half a cent to 44 cents after it said it secured sales of three vessels worth US$41 million.
It also announced that it will invest US$30.7 million to take a 30 per cent stake in Indonesian marine player Pelayaran Nasional Bina Buana Raya (BBR). Marco Polo Marine, in turn, renounced its rights entitlements in BBR in favour of Nam Cheong.
Marco Polo Marine, which will remain BBR's largest shareholder, lost half a cent to 34.5 cents.