Aug 04, 2016

    S'pore shares extend fall along with oil prices

    SINGAPORE equities continued to slide downhill in line with most other Asian shares as market sentiment remained in the doldrums.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) dropped as much as 1.59 per cent in trading yesterday, before recovering somewhat to close 29.09 points or 1.02 per cent lower at 2,827.58.

    Trading across the bourse was 1.25 billion shares worth $1.3 billion.

    This came as Wall Street lost 0.49 per cent overnight to mark its biggest decline in a month amid sliding oil prices and renewed concerns over global growth.

    A big contributor to the STI selldown was OCBC Bank, which traded ex-dividend and fell 24 cents or 2.8 per cent to $8.35.

    "This has a lot to do with the current market sentiment," CMC Markets Singapore market analyst Margaret Yang told The Straits Times.

    "Investors are still very worried about rising non-performing loans for the banks, given the slump in crude prices and the news of Swiber's insolvency."

    Oil-field services provider Swiber Holdings, which now faces claims amounting to a hefty US$50.5 million (S$67.8 million), is fighting for its life, having filed for judicial management.

    "It doesn't help that there is selling pressure in the surrounding markets," added Ms Yang.

    Other blue-chip laggards included Sembcorp Industries, which slid four cents or 1.4 per cent to $2.74 after second-quarter results missed expectations.

    Its marine arm, Sembcorp Marine, lost 2.5 cents or 1.9 per cent to $1.325.

    An RHB Research report, however, maintained a "buy" call on Sembcorp Industries, noting that the group's "slew of utilities projects in the pipeline will be driving earnings, cushioning the weakness in the marine business".

    Commodity trader Noble Group was again the day's most actively traded, sliding 0.1 cent or 0.8 per cent to 13.2 cents on 319.4 million shares done.

    Offshore plays like Ezion Holdings saw a strong rebound, surging 4.5 cents or 16.7 per cent to 31.5 cents while Ezra Holdings rose 0.2 cent or 4.7 per cent to 4.5 cents.

    Pacc Offshore Services Holdings, which on Tuesday reported a net loss of US$17.5 million for the second quarter to June 30, slumped three cents or 8.8 per cent to 31 cents.