Shares slide as oil prices dip before Opec meeting
SINGAPORE shares drifted lower yesterday as oil prices eased ahead of a policy meeting today of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
The Straits Times Index fell 0.02 per cent or 0.52 points to 2,790.54, weighed down by OCBC, which lost 0.58 per cent or five cents to $8.57. Keppel Corp fell 1.7 per cent or nine cents to $5.29; ST Engineering lost 2.2 per cent or seven cents to $3.16 and Singapore Exchange shed 1.4 per cent or 11 cents to $7.64.
Local stocks were stuck in range-bound trade after oil prices slipped on concerns China's slowdown may crimp demand and that Opec could keep raising output.
Analysts say Opec could continue to focus on defending market share instead of curbing output after a recent rebound in oil prices. Said remisier Desmond Leong: "The market is stuck in a wait and see mode, waiting for the outcome of the Opec meeting."
Lower oil prices dragged down oil and offshore marine counters. Among the most actively traded were Ezra Holdings, which slipped 1.5 per cent or 0.1 cent to 6.4 cents, with 40.6 million shares traded. Sembcorp Marine lost nearly 1 per cent or 1.5 cents to $1.54 and Sembcorp Industries dipped 0.7 per cent or two cents to $2.77.
Penny stocks were again in play, with Cedar Strategic plunging 33.3 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.2 cent, on 291.6 million shares traded. Noble Group fell 3.4 per cent or one cent to 28.5 cents, on 41.7 million shares traded; Ipco International dived 20 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.4 cent, with 38.9 million shares traded.
Unusual price movements in shares of Yeo Hiap Seng drew a trading query from the Singapore Exchange. The food and beverage company jumped 13.4 per cent or 17.5 cents to $1.485.
Meanwhile, offshore support services firm Technics Oil & Gas has asked for a trading suspension after it and its unit Technics Offshore Engineering said that they had applied to the Singapore High Court to place the firms under judicial management.
Jumbo Group rose two cents or 3.7 per cent to 55.5 cents, after DBS Group Research initiated coverage of the seafood restaurant operator with a buy call.
"Jumbo is growing quickly in Singapore and China... and will reel in stronger growth if it secures a master franchisee for its brands in China outside Shanghai," DBS said.