Aug 12, 2016

    S'pore bourse limps along, hurt by oil prices

    SINGAPORE shares lost some ground yesterday in line with most other regional markets, weighed down largely by

    lower crude prices.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slid 5.75 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,869.82.

    Some one billion shares worth $1.02 billion changed hands.

    This mirrored Wall Street's limp showing

    amid sluggish earnings, as the Dow Jones

    Industrial Average dropped 0.2 per cent

    and the S&P 500 lost 0.29 per cent Wednesday.

    Elsewhere in Asia, Shanghai shed 0.53 per cent, dragged down by resources stocks and small-caps, and Sydney sank 0.64 per cent.

    Hong Kong bucked the trend, climbing

    0.39 per cent to an eight-month high, buoyed

    by speculation that an exchange trading link

    with Shenzhen will kick off soon.

    Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

    "The biggest risk to the market at the moment is a huge drop in oil prices," James Woods, a strategist at Rivkin Securities in Sydney, told Bloomberg.

    "Recent gains, particularly in United States equities, are becoming exhausted. We'll see some near-term weakness in the coming weeks.

    Investors are likely to be buying on these dips as central bank policies remain supportive of equities."

    Of the 30 STI constituents, only six rose,

    as 19 fell and five were flat.

    All three banks finished weaker, led by

    United Overseas Bank, which fell 18 cents

    or 1 per cent to $17.87.

    Singtel helped prop up the index, rising

    seven cents or 1.7 per cent to $4.27.

    Sembcorp Marine jumped seven cents or

    5.4 per cent to $1.37. The rig-builder was queried by the Singapore Exchange after its share price

    rose as much as 6.1 per cent to an intra-day high

    of $1.38. It said later it was not aware of any possible explanation.

    Outside the blue chips, Ezion Holdings finished flat at 29 cents after posting a 31.5 per cent fall in

    net profit for the second quarter ended June 30 to US$19.8 million, while warning that strong headwinds will continue into the second half of the year.

    Specialist healthcare provider Singapore Medical Group soared 5.5 cents or 20.4 per cent to

    32.5 cents, after RHB initiated coverage with

    a "buy" rating and a target price of 45 cents.

    Commodity trader Noble Group was the

    top active counter, adding 0.7 cent or 4.7 per cent

    to 15.5 cents on 79.1 million shares done.