SingTel, banks weigh on STI
A BOUT of profit-taking in banking and telecommunications counters offset positive leads from Asia to send local shares into negative territory yesterday.
The benchmark Straits Times Index shed 4.79 points or 0.14 per cent to 3,340.53 on trade of 1.46 billion shares valued at $1 billion.
Telco SingTel fell nearly 1 per cent or three cents to $3.89 a share, with 21.9 million shares changing hands.
Investors were unnerved by data showing that the number of mobile-phone lines here dropped to 8.22 million in August, after doubling from four million in 2005 to 8.42 million in December.
Top laggards included Jardine Cycle & Carriage, which shed nearly 1 per cent or 39 cents to $40.75, and Jardine Matheson, which fell 0.6 per cent or 38 US cents (50 Singapore cents) to US$61.80. DBS shed 0.5 per cent or nine cents to $19.79, while OCBC Bank fell 0.8 per cent or eight cents to $10.39.
Meanwhile, Asian stocks rose as China's unexpected interest-rate cuts stoked optimism in the global economy.
Shanghai jumped 1.9 per cent to its highest close since September 2011, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index surged 3.8 per cent, the biggest advance in a year.
South Korea gained 0.7 per cent and Australia jumped 1.1 per cent. Taiwan rose 0.3 per cent. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.
The top volume stocks included Forterra Trust, which soared nearly 21 per cent or 39 cents to $2.25 after Hong Kong developer Nan Fung International Holdings raised its offer to buy all the outstanding units in the trust that it doesn't already own.
Nan Fung said it will pay $2.25 per Forterra unit, up from the $1.85 it offered previously, valuing the Singapore-listed property developer at about $578 million.
CapitaLand shares jumped 1.5 per cent or five cents to $3.32 with 18.9 million shares changing hands. DBS Group Research reiterated a "buy" call yesterday on the property giant, citing potentially better prospects for the Chinese residential market.
When the local market opens tomorrow, there will be one change to the MSCI Singapore Index (SiMSCI) and four changes to the MSCI Singapore Small Cap Index, SGX My Gateway said yesterday.
PACC Offshore Services, Japfa, Frasers Hospitality Trust and Accordia Golf Trust will replace Keppel Infrastructure Trust, Stamford Land, Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust and Swiber Holdings in the Small Cap Index, which includes securities with a market capitalisation below companies in the SiMSCI.
Suntec Reit will replace Olam International in the SiMSCI, an alternative benchmark to the STI for tracking the local market.