Local shares down on Mr Lee's death

PIONEER: The Straits Times Index ended down 2.31 points to 3,410.13, amid a sombre mood among traders over the death of Singapore founding prime minister Lee.


    Mar 24, 2015

    Local shares down on Mr Lee's death

    LOCAL shares bucked the regional trend yesterday and ended in the red on a negative lead from Europe and a sombre mood among traders over the death of Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

    The Straits Times Index ended down 2.31 points to 3,410.13, with 920.5 million shares valued at $878 million changing hands.

    "The market has been bracing itself for his passing. The volume may not be as high as usual, but the market has had a lot of time to factor it in," remisier Desmond Leong said.

    DBS noted yesterday that it expects the STI to remain resilient in the weeks ahead, after the unexpectedly dovish statement by the United States Federal Open Market Committee on Thursday. It expects investors to bargain hunt ahead of companies going ex-dividend next month.

    The brokerage said the index's rebound off the month-low of 3,361.75 on Wednesday was in line with its expectations that the STI will stay resilient despite concerns of a US rate hike. It also added that Singapore equity market valuations are attractive.

    "Fund flows to or from financial markets continue to be influenced by central banks' action," it said.

    Most markets elsewhere in Asia rose on speculation that the US Federal Reserve will proceed more slowly with interest rate increases. Hong Kong rose 0.5 per cent, China advanced 2 per cent and Japan climbed 0.7 per cent. Taiwan and New Zealand each added 0.1 per cent.

    Noble Group was the most actively traded stock here, gaining 4 per cent or 3.5 cents to 91 cents, with 68.1 million shares traded.

    The commodity trader is suing a credit analyst it says it fired in 2013. It claims he is trying to injure the company by anonymously spreading false and misleading information.

    The positive vibe from China trickled down to some S-chips here. Biosensors jumped 8.8 per cent or six cents to 74.5 cents, with 24.8 million shares changing hands.

    Banking counters DBS and UOB rose on expectations of stronger net interest income as the three-month Singapore Interbank Offered Rate, a key interest rate used to set many mortgages, hit its highest level in more than six years yesterday.

    Property and construction firm Chip Eng Seng Corp slipped 0.5 per cent or 0.5 cent to 96 cents on speculation of married trades, or off-market deals.

    "There's talk of one party selling a huge load of shares to another party," remisier Alvin Yong said. About 17.8 million shares changed hands.