May 04, 2016

    Punters back off in 7th straight session of losses

    SINGAPORE equities extended losses to a seventh straight session as they resumed trading on a downbeat note after a long weekend.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) yesterday slid 0.96 per cent, or 27.32 points, to 2,811.2.

    Markets elsewhere in the region were mixed. Shanghai grew 1.9 per cent, led by consumer and technology shares amid hopes for fresh stimulus measures, while Hong Kong fell 1.9 per cent to post its biggest one-day loss since Feb 11.

    Tokyo, which tumbled 3.1 per cent on Monday, was closed for the Golden Week holiday.

    Sydney rose 2.1 per cent after a surprise central bank interest rate cut to a new record low while Kuala Lumpur sank 1.3 per cent.

    In the United States, gains in the banks and consumer counters helped boost Wall Street by 0.7 per cent overnight.

    Analysts expect sentiment to stay on the downside, given the declining US dollar, continued weakness in crude prices and worries over central banks' ability to lift growth.

    "We've started to take a little bit of money off the table," Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies Group in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.

    "There's quite a bit for investors to digest now after quite a big run-up in markets, particularly after the disappointment from the Bank of Japan last week. We're into the May doldrums where people are starting to reconsider portfolios and will probably not do too much."

    Commodity plays were a drag on the STI yesterday, with Golden Agri-Resources falling one cent or 2.5 per cent to 39 cents, and Wilmar International losing eight cents or 2.2 per cent to $3.63.

    Oil and gas-related counters also fared poorly, amid renewed concerns over increased output from Opec.

    Sembcorp Marine retreated three cents or 1.8 per cent to $1.64, while Sembcorp Industries sank seven cents or 2.4 per cent to $2.82. Keppel Corporation was flat at $5.40.

    DBS Group Holdings was the only gainer among the local lenders, climbing seven cents or 0.5 per cent to $15.35. OCBC Bank dropped 17 cents or 1.9 per cent to $8.60 while United Overseas Bank slid 20 cents or 1.1 per cent to $18.40.