Dec 10, 2013

    STI bucks regional up trend

    LOCAL shares shrugged off upbeat data from two of the world's largest economies to start the week on a flat note.

    While some regional bourses enjoyed big gains following Friday's solid jobs data from the United States and encouraging Chinese exports, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed down 0.53 point to 3,113.64 - its fifth straight day of losses.

    Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 2.3 per cent while South Korea's Kospi rose 1 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.3 per cent.

    Traders attributed the slide here partly to the year-end lull and the fact that the spotlight remains on October's penny-stock crash, which left many investors suffering big losses.

    However, there are other factors weighing on the market.

    A recent CIMB Singapore strategy report noted the threat of an end to quantitative easing, weak consumer recovery in developed markets, and Singapore's domestic restructuring, all of which pose headwinds for corporate profits.

    "We are getting close to the phase of a tired bull market," it said, referring to the rally in global markets, including Singapore, which has been powered by low interest rates and stimulus spending.

    Turnover here reached 2.19 billion shares worth $862.4 million.

    Thai Beverage led the losers, dipping 1.5 cents, or 3.06 per cent, to 47.5 cents.

    ComfortDelGro fell 3.5 cents, or 1.8 per cent, to $1.925 while CapitaMalls Asia shed two cents, or 1.03 per cent, to $1.915.

    Food Junction Holdings, which had been suspended from trading, was delisted yesterday. The company had applied to be delisted in August following a takeover by APG Strategic Investment.

    Fraser & Neave closed unchanged at $5.71. On Friday, the firm raised its buyout offer to remaining bondholders to avert a technical default and clear the way for the listing of its property division.

    CNMC Goldmine Holdings fell 0.5 cent, or 1.9 per cent, to 26.5 cents ahead of a major restructuring. The gold miner announced that it has tied up with the Perak state government to explore and mine tin in Malaysia.

    Blumont, one of the battered penny stocks, was actively traded, with 202 million shares changing hands before closing up 3.7 cents, or 57 per cent, to 10.2 cents.

    Charisma Energy Services, formerly called YHM Group, was most actively traded, with 373 million shares worth $24 million done.

    The counter closed 0.3 cent, or 5 per cent, up at 6.3 cents.