Aug 08, 2014

    STI in the red again amid global concerns

    SINGAPORE shares remained in the red yesterday as regional markets stayed tepid amid worries about international conflicts and the state of the European economy.

    The local benchmark Straits Times Index slipped 6.01 points, or 0.18 per cent, to close at 3,314.22.

    Volumes were middling, with just 1.8 billion shares worth $1.01 billion changing hands.

    The low turnover reflected investor jitters, brought on by continued tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East, and new data showing that Italy slipped back into recession in the second quarter.

    Traders said the collapse of several huge Wall Street corporate deals also dragged down sentiment.

    "A perfect storm of low volumes, geopolitical worries and pulled mergers is conspiring to keep markets on the back foot," said IG Markets analyst Chris Beauchamp in an interview with AFP.

    Most regional markets also ended lower. Sydney declined 0.05 per cent, Seoul fell 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong slipped 0.8 per cent and Shanghai lost 1.34 per cent.

    Tokyo was an outperformer, rising 0.48 per cent.

    The top active at home was Polaris, which fell 0.2 cent to 2.7 cents on a turnover of 150 million shares. The telephony services provider said on Wednesday that it will raise its stake in Indonesian mobile device retailer Trikomsel to 50 per cent.

    Biosensors International dropped three cents to 80 cents after OCBC Investment Research maintained its "sell" call on the stock. The firm, which makes medical devices, reported an 18 per cent fall in its first quarter net profit to US$9.9 million (S$12.4 million).

    OCBC analyst Andy Wong wrote in a note yesterday that the numbers fell short of expectations as the company faced pressure on gross margins.

    CapitaLand gained a cent to $3.38 after posting a 14.5 per cent rise in net profit to $438.7 million on Tuesday.

    Other blue chip property developers also closed higher, with City Developments up nine cents to $10.12 and Keppel Land rising two cents to $3.51.

    Sembcorp Industries declined seven cents to $5.34, after reporting on Wednesday that net profit grew 8 per cent to $179 million.

    CIMB Research analyst Lim Siew Khee maintained her call for investors to add Sembcorp shares to their portfolios, saying that stronger-than-expected growth from the firm's overseas plants could be the key catalyst to drive up its share price.