Aug 18, 2016

    STI dragged down by HK, Europe and US

    A WEAK lead from Hong Kong coupled with lower European and Dow futures kept Singapore shares in negative territory yesterday.

    Traders were sidelined ahead of Thursday morning's release of minutes by the United States Federal Reserve's July Federal Open Market Committee meeting that could involve a rate rise sooner than later.

    The Straits Times Index closed down 0.54 per cent or 15.45 points to 2,843.35, weighed down by SingTel, HongKong Land, Thai Beverage and banks DBS Group and OCBC Bank.

    SingTel slipped 1.4 per cent or six cents to $4.21 on reports that Temasek Holdings may sell a portion of its US$2.4 billion (S$3.2 billion) stake in Thailand's Intouch Holdings.

    Intouch is the largest shareholder in Thailand's top telco, Advanced Info Services, with a 40.45 per cent stake.

    Singtel's is the second largest, at 23.32 per cent.

    The index was also dragged down by HongKong Land, which fell 1.69 per cent or 11 US cents to US$6.41, and Thai Beverage, which dropped 1.45 per cent or 1.5 cents to $1.02.

    Banking counters DBS edged down 0.4 per cent or six cents to $14.75 while OCBC lost 0.4 per cent or three cents to $8.44.

    Palm oil producer Golden-Agri Resources was among the most actively traded, shedding 3.9 per cent or 1.5 cents to 37 cents, with 31.8 million shares traded.

    Another laggard, Wilmar International, lost 1.3 per cent or four cents to $3.11.

    UOB KayHian, which has a sell call on the firm, said Wilmar's management had mentioned in a recent briefing that this is the first year that the palm-oil trader has encountered large trading losses.

    Other actively traded counters include Noble Group, which eased 3.4 per cent or 0.5 cent to 14.2 cents after Moody's rating downgrade on concerns over its liquidity over the next 12 months. About 80.6 million shares changed hands.

    Rating agency Moody's downgraded the commodity trader on concerns over its "limited ability to generate positive operating cash flow and the large debt maturities in the second quarter of 2017".