Jun 18, 2014

    STI sinks to 3-week low

    LOCAL shares hit their lowest levels in almost three weeks on disappointing export data and declines in stock markets across Asia.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index closed at 3,274.44, down 15.82 points, the lowest since May 28.

    Regional bourses suffered similar fates, with the Shanghai Composite Index down 0.9 per cent after foreign direct investment in China unexpectedly declined.

    Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slid 0.4 per cent, while Philippine shares dropped almost 1 per cent. Other markets in South-east Asia were mostly flat, with Kuala Lumpur little changed at 1,870.94.

    Hitting investor sentiment was news that Singapore's non-oil domestic exports shrank an unexpected 6.6 per cent last month from a year earlier, after rising 0.9 per cent in April. Economists, who had forecast that shipments would rise 0.5 per cent last month, cited weak electronics exports, possibly due to operations being moved abroad.

    The top actives were Keppel Corp, down nine cents or 0.8 per cent to $10.68, on turnover of $53.3 million. OCBC Bank was down nine cents or 0.9 per cent to $9.68 with 4.7 million shares worth $45.4 million changing hands, while DBS fell six cents or 0.4 per cent to $17.04 on turnover of $43.2 million.

    "Amid a selldown in blue chips, there's a lot of speculative interest in penny stocks because the capital outlay there is a lot less. Everything in Singapore is expensive at the moment, except for the penny stocks," said remisier Alvin Yong.

    Notebook-casing producer Huan Hsin Holdings skyrocketed 150 per cent, or 2.1 cents, to 3.5 cents after announcing yesterday that it was selling a 30 per cent stake in Li Sheng Electronic (Kunshan) or LSE for US$3.5 million (S$4.4 million). LSE, a private company incorporated in China, fabricates steel moulds for the notebook industry.

    Huan Hsin, which was placed on the Singapore Exchange watch list in March following three consecutive years of losses, is expecting a gain of US$500,000 from the transaction. It plans to use the proceeds to enhance its existing capabilities for making steel moulds for notebook computers.

    Some interest appears to be returning to the hammered S-chip sector, Mr Yong added. Foreland Fabritech Holdings surged 47 per cent or 0.9 cents to 2.8 cents, with about 38.2 million shares changing hands.