Rally halts amid uncertainty
THE rally in Singapore shares fizzled out yesterday as investors took cash off the table on uncertainty ahead of the release of the minutes of the United States Federal Reserve's last policy meeting.
The benchmark Straits Times Index slipped 14.78 points or 0.5 per cent to 2,947.03 as bargain hunters took their chance to take profit.
"Those who had the guts to bottom-fish in the past few days would have trimmed some of their positions today," remisier Alvin Yong said. "Corporate earnings for the third quarter are not expected to be fantastic given the weak Singapore gross domestic product figures we've been seeing."
Golden Agri-Resources was one of the big losers, down 5.4 per cent or two cents to 35 cents, while fellow commodity player Wilmar International dropped 2.4 per cent or seven cents to $2.82.
ComfortDelGro shed 2.6 per cent or eight cents to $2.94 and DBS dipped 0.3 per cent or six cents to $17.42.
IG market strategist Bernard Aw said the rally in the past three sessions was "not based on solid fundamentals but more on speculation of more monetary easing in the pipeline".
Despite the sell-down in most blue chips, Singtel held its ground, rising 0.5 per cent or two cents to $3.77, with 24.3 million shares traded, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding gained 2.9 per cent or 3.5 cents to $1.24, with 28 million shares traded. Neptune Orient Lines jumped 4 per cent or four cents to $1.04 on trades of 27.6 million.
"The stock is up on possible corporate action," Mr Yong said. Trading activity in shares of the container shipping liner have been heavy since reports in July saying Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings has put it up for sale.
Oil and gas plays were among the most actively traded, as crude prices whipsawed after the latest US data showed larger national stockpiles than expected, deepening worries of a supply glut.
Ezra slipped 2.4 per cent or 0.3 cents to 12 cents, with 73.7 million shares changing hands, while Ezion shed 3.4 per cent or 2.5 cents to 70 cents, with 23.6 million shares traded. Keppel Corp dipped 0.3 per cent or two cents to $7.16.
Meanwhile, traders are watching for the upcoming fifth plenum of the 18th Communist Party Congress in the middle of this month, which could shed light on the Chinese authorities' plans to boost the domestic economy while working on its reforms.