Jul 11, 2014

    Markets quiet amid World Cup cheers

    ANOTHER World Cup semi-final overnight meant another muted day for local shares yesterday, as traders kept their attention on the action in Brazil.

    The Straits Times Index was little changed at the end of the quiet session, shedding just 5.96 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 3,269.50. As on Wednesday, trading volume was lacklustre, with a mere 1.6 billion shares worth $850 million changing hands.

    "It was mainly quiet, apart from some activity in the morning," said a remisier. "Some investors are worried about when a pullback is going to occur, given that the United States market seems to be hitting new heights every other day."

    Trading activity was also fairly listless the day before, in the wake of the first semi-final match.

    Overnight, Wall Street rallied, with the Dow and S&P 500 indexes adding about 0.5 per cent each.

    Analysts tip prices there to hit fresh peaks soon, with some expecting the S&P 500 to cross 2,000.

    CMC Markets analyst Desmond Chua said: "There were many reasons for US stocks to sell off overnight, and yet market participants chose to heed what wasn't mentioned, underscoring the unwavering faith in US stocks."

    Investors ignored warnings from the US Federal Reserve overnight, highlighting that market players may be too complacent when it comes to the recent trend, and could be ill-prepared for uncertainty in the economic outlook and monetary policy.

    Citi Research economist William Lee noted: "The Fed's exit tools and tactics are clearly a 'work in progress', and we expect more information will be forthcoming."

    There was also little market movement in the region, with Japan inching down 0.56 per cent, Hong Kong edging up 0.27 per cent and Shanghai ending flat.

    There were 16 decliners among the 30 STI component stocks, with eight gainers and six unchanged.

    Golden Agri-Resources dropped a cent to 54.5 cents, becoming the biggest loser in percentage terms on the STI.

    DBS Group Holdings also had a downbeat day, dipping four cents to $16.97, while OCBC Bank also inched back by the same amount to $9.40. United Overseas Bank closed flat at $23.30.

    Ascendas Reit enjoyed a bright outing, adding three cents to $2.32, while Olam International rallied three cents to $2.46.

    The day's most active counter was International Healthway, which closed flat at 24 cents with 68.1 million units done.