Jan 12, 2016

    No lift from positive news in US, China

    LOCAL shares continued their slide yesterday, despite a good United States job report and moves to stabilise the Chinese yuan.

    The sour mood sent the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) down 42.38 points or 1.54 per cent to 2,708.85, a new low since it hit 2,698.90 in June 2012.

    The days ahead are looking similarly bleak, remisier Desmond Leong warned.

    "It all depends on what happens in China but we are not seeing the data to expect the markets to bottom out yet.

    "Keep in mind that the first leg of rebound from a crash is usually a technical rebound - and we haven't even had that first leg yet."

    It was much the same across the region, especially in China, the epicentre of last week's turmoil.

    Shanghai fell 5.33 per cent and Shenzhen dropped 6.6 per cent. The CSI 300 index of blue chips on both exchanges has lost 14.4 per cent since the turn of the new year.

    Even a buoyant US jobs report on Friday and news yesterday that China had kept the yuan stable after it hit a low against the greenback last week could not lift sentiment.

    Hong Kong was down 2.76 per cent, Sydney lost 1.16 per cent and Kuala Lumpur dropped 1.21 per cent. Tokyo was closed for holiday.

    Banks took a hit here. DBS pared 34 cents or 2.16 per cent to $15.38, OCBC dropped 11 cents or 1.31 per cent to $8.29 and United Overseas Bank closed down 14 cents or 0.76 per cent to $18.27.

    The banks will be seen with some caution as global economic uncertainties pile up. Slowing business loans growth and the potential deterioration of credit quality are questions hovering on investors' mind.

    Keppel Corp extended its loss, down 26 cents or 4.48 per cent to a near six-year low of $5.54.

    Sembcorp Marine was down 5.5 cents or 3.37 per cent to $1.575.

    Ezra Holdings fell 0.7 cent or 7.61 per cent to 8.5 cents.

    The offshore and marine sector is being belted by rig order woes and weak energy prices, with Brent futures still below $33 per barrel.

    Only Golden Agri-Resources gained among STI-component stocks, up 0.5 cent or 1.43 per cent to 35.5 cents, with 36.22 million shares transacted.

    The palm oil firm recently received a buy call with a 42-cent target price from Deutsche Bank, which expects the weather to hit production and so maintain prices this year.

    There were other bright spots - Tiger Airways put on 0.5 cent or 1.11 per cent to 45.5 cents after Singapore Airlines said its 45-cent buyout offer was unconditional.