STI slides ahead of US Fed meeting
A BOUT of profit taking ahead of a meeting of the policy-making committee of the United States Federal Reserve this week sent Singapore stocks below the key 3,400 resistance level.
Increased instability in the euro zone, as a result of Greece's weekend elections results, also dampened investor sentiment. The Straits Times index fell 12.98 points to end at 3,398.52, with 1.38 billion shares worth $1.41 billion changing hands.
"It's a technical pullback from 3,411.50 (a 20-month high reached on Friday) as investors tend to square positions and adopt a neutral stance ahead of volatile events like Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings," Phillip Futures investment analyst Howie Lee said.
The FOMC is expected to reiterate that global risks have not yet put the US recovery or rate-hike plans off-track when it issues its policy statement at the end of its two-day meeting tomorrow.
Weakness in European shares owing to uncertainty over the leftist Syriza party's electoral victory in Greece also weighed on local shares.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras promised Greeks on Sunday that the five years of austerity imposed under bailout programmes worth 240 billion euros (S$360 billion) from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund were over.
This has stoked fears of a Greek exit from the euro.
Tigerair was the most active stock by volume yesterday, after the budget carrier announced it eked out a $2.2 million profit in the third quarter, reversing a $118.5 million loss a year earlier. The stock soared 23 per cent or six cents to 32 cents, with 113.9 million shares traded.
The improvement reflected the success of the group's turnaround initiatives to focus on its Singapore operations, as well as more passengers carried and higher yields, the airline said.
Keppel Land rallied when trading resumed yesterday, following Keppel Corp's announcement last week of its planned takeover and privatisation of its 54.6 per cent subsidiary. The property arm of Keppel jumped nearly 25 per cent or 90 cents to $4.55, with 43.9 million shares done.
Shares of Keppel edged up 0.7 per cent or six cents to $8.16, with 25.4 million shares traded.
Ho Bee Land gained 2.5 per cent or five cents to $2.08 on speculation that it may be a possible target for privatisation.
"Given weak property sentiment and that some of these companies are trading at depressed valuations, a controlling shareholder could opt to delist the company to unlock value there," remisier Alvin Yong said.