Dec 12, 2014

    Local stocks dip as oil woes go on

    THE benchmark Straits Times Index closed 7.11 points or 0.21 per cent lower to 3,318.70 yesterday, after gaining for two straight days.

    The modest fall followed a 1.51 per cent drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average the previous day, attributed to the relentless fall in oil prices.

    With Saudi Arabia's Petroleum Minister Ali Al-Naimi refusing to cut oil production, sentiments on energy and related plays in Singapore were again shaken.

    Ezion closed three cents lower at $1.08, SembCorp Marine lost two cents to close at $2.90, while Keppel Corp went down 13 cents to $8.21.

    Further weakness is likely, NRA Capital cautioned in a report, saying: "Though many consider the selling to be overdone, the lack of support and buying interest will likely exaggerate the falls."

    Offshore marine equipment and service provider Beng Kuang Marine closed flat at 20 cents. This followed a 13.1 per cent drop that drew a trade-with-caution warning from the Singapore Exchange.

    Responding to queries from the Singapore Exchange, the company said it is unaware what caused the unusual price movement.

    Meanwhile, Popular saw its shares drop one cent to 22.5 cents, as investors reacted to its announcement on Wednesday of an 8 per cent year-on-year fall in revenue for its second quarter ended Oct 31.

    The book retailer and property group is expecting difficulties in moving its property units amid the cooling measures.

    Also in the spotlight was Internet-based investment platform iFAST Corporation, which made its mainboard debut with a 1.5 cent gain to close at $1.01.