Oct 14, 2016

    STI falls for 4th straight day over poor China data

    THE slide downhill for Singapore equities continued as a disappointing decline in Chinese exports cast a shadow on Asian markets.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) shed 8.23 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 2,805.48 - extending losses for the fourth straight day. Total turnover was 1.97 billion shares worth $1.26 billion.

    Shanghai was flat, inching up just 0.09 per cent after figures showed Chinese exports fell the most since February.

    Hong Kong took a bigger hit, sliding 1.6 per cent.

    Tokyo eased 0.39 per cent, Sydney slipped 0.71 per cent and Jakarta retreated 0.45 per cent.

    Bangkok lost 2.12 per cent on news the Thai King's health remained unstable.

    He died at 88 yesterday.

    Wall Street climbed just 0.09 per cent overnight after the minutes of the United States Federal Reserve's September meeting showed that officials are still waiting for more data on labour market conditions before raising interest rates.

    "The pessimism in the Singapore market today was in part attributed to the disappointing China data," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi told The Straits Times.

    "But the focus still remains largely on Fed comments in relation to the next rate hike, and oil prices.

    "Developments in these two areas will be major drivers for market sentiment."

    Ms Pan added that the STI is likely to continue with its "directionless" trading although there could be more volatility ahead with the US elections fast approaching.

    On the index, local banks continued to lose ground.

    United Overseas Bank, for instance, was down 30 cents or 1.6 per cent to $18.30.

    Thai Beverage bounced back 1.5 cents or 1.6 per cent to 92.5 cents following a heavy sell-down the day before amid fears over the political uncertainty in Thailand.

    An OCBC Investment Research report noted that "near-term sentiment may remain hit by the uncertainties around potential repercussions for Thailand".

    But it believes the long-term fundamentals of the group remain strong.

    It maintained a "hold" rating on the stock and advised longer-term investors to "consider accumulating at current price levels".