May 12, 2016

    STI slips again despite Wall St rise

    SINGAPORE shares lost ground for the second consecutive session amid a strengthening Japanese yen and falling oil prices.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slid 8.28 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,732.87, despite Wall Street rising 1.3 per cent overnight - its biggest gain in two months - in line with a rebound in commodities.

    Markets elsewhere in the region were a mixed bag. Tokyo was flat, inching up just 0.1 per cent to reverse earlier gains on the back of a stronger yen, while Shanghai climbed 0.2 per cent as bargain hunters closed in on consumer and healthcare stocks.

    Hong Kong slipped 0.9 per cent, weighed down by persistent worries over China's economic recovery, Seoul pared 0.1 per cent, Sydney grew 0.6 per cent and Kuala Lumpur added 0.5 per cent.

    "There aren't many fundamental drivers to push shares much higher," IG market strategist Bernard Aw told Bloomberg.

    "Corporate earnings haven't been positive and there's uncertainty as to whether the Federal Reserve will raise rates soon."

    The local banks were a major drag on the STI yesterday, with DBS Group Holdings falling 13 cents or 0.9 per cent to $14.67 and United Overseas Bank losing 17 cents or 1 per cent to $17.56.

    OCBC Bank, on the other hand, edged up three cents or 0.4 per cent to $8.33.

    Wilmar International, the world's largest palm-oil trader, was also one of the biggest losers, slumping 12 cents or 3.5 per cent to $3.29.

    Oil and gas-related plays closed weaker as crude prices dipped. Sembcorp Marine slid two cents or 1.3 per cent to $1.52 and Keppel Corporation retreated six cents or 1.2 per cent to $5.12.

    On the flip side, Singapore Airlines was among the top blue-chip gainers, advancing 31 cents or 2.7 per cent to $11.65 while Thai Beverage grew two cents or 2.7 per cent to 76.5 cents.

    Commodity trader Noble Group was the day's most heavily traded on a turnover of 76.7 million units. The stock fell one cent or 2.8 per cent to 35 cents.

    A total of 1.01 billion shares worth $1.1 billion across the bourse changed hands.