Slow start to the week for STI

LACKLUSTRE: Genting Singapore, which runs Resorts World Sentosa (above), eased 1.5 cents to $1.245. It reported downbeat earnings last week.


    Aug 19, 2014

    Slow start to the week for STI

    SINGAPORE shares kicked off the trading week little changed amid another muted session.

    The Straits Times Index reversed early losses on a strong opening in Europe to shed a mere 1.99 points, closing at 3,312.78.

    Trading volumes remained modest, with just 1.2 billion shares worth $735.7 million done.

    "It's been a mainly boring and quiet whole day despite Europe's bright opening," said a broker here. "Clients are slightly worried, quickly taking profit even as they trade."

    The afternoon session was more upbeat, with traders taking their lead from a positive start for European markets.

    Most key bourses there began the week on a bright note, with traders keeping watch on the latest geopolitical developments in Ukraine and the Middle East, while shaking off more downbeat China data.

    Market experts say all eyes will be on United States Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen's speech on Friday, following the Jackson Hole symposium, with traders looking for fresh signals regarding monetary policy.

    Here, 15 of the 30 STI component counters closed lower, with 10 gainers and five unchanged.

    Genting Singapore was in the spotlight after unveiling a downbeat set of quarterly earnings on Friday, easing 1.5 cents to $1.245.

    CIMB, which has an "add" call with a $1.72 price target, said: "Key catalysts remain the rollout of the investment in Jeju and opportunities in Japan."

    It was also a negative session for blue chips including City Developments, which slid 13 cents to $9.87. Sembcorp Industries shed seven cents to $5.23, while ST Engineering dipped seven cents to $3.69.

    The Jardine stocks were among the key movers, with Jardine Strategic adding 66 US cents (82 Singapore cents) to US$36.64 and Jardine Matheson rising US$1.04 to US$61.04. These two shares alone accounted for a six-point rise in the STI.

    The day's most active stock was Singapore eDevelopment, which rose 0.1 cent to 0.6 cents, with 82.8 million units done.

    Overall, analysts are tipping a near-term pullback as the market is into its seasonally weak quarter.

    "The correction seen in shares over the last few weeks is a healthy development, serving to relieve a bit of complacency that had started to build up during the first half," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital Investors.

    But he also noted that the broad trend for stocks "is likely to remain up and, while it's impossible to be sure, given uncertainties (involving) various geopolitical risks, we may have already seen the low".