STI slumps on worry over Greek debt
A SHORT-LIVED rally ground to a halt yesterday as the local market gave up all the gains made in the previous two sessions, as investors nervously await the outcome of negotiations over Greek debt.
The uncertainty left the benchmark Straits Times Index down 25.4 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 3,419.17.
European finance ministers meeting in Brussels overnight on Wednesday failed to make any progress in discussions on how Greece could avoid running out of money before its bailout expires at the end of this month.
"After an initial volley of radical demands, the incoming Greek government does appear to be backtracking somewhat and displaying greater readiness to accept more modest concessions," wrote Pictet Wealth Management economist Jean-Pierre Durante in a note yesterday.
"There is still a favourable face-saving outcome that would enable all parties involved to emerge with their heads held high. Let's just hope this will indeed be the road they decide to go down."
Regional shares were a mixed bag. Tokyo gained 1.9 per cent, Hong Kong climbed 0.4 per cent and Shanghai rose 0.5 per cent. But South Korea slid 0.2 per cent and New Zealand retreated 0.7 per cent.
Hutchison Port Holdings Trust was among the top actives at home, slipping two US cents to 67 US cents.
The trust has lost ground since it reported a net loss of HK$18.6 billion ($3.3 billion) in the fourth quarter, compared with a net profit of HK$334.8 million in the same period a year earlier.
Singtel was also in the spotlight, rising four cents to $4.18 after confirming on Tuesday that it will offer nationwide coverage of the next-generation 4G network, known as Long Term Evolution-Advanced or 4G+, next month.
Its competitors ended in the red. StarHub dropped six cents to $4.21 while M1 slipped two cents to $3.88.
ComfortDelGro fell 16 cents to $2.98. It said on Tuesday that net profit for the year rose 7.7 per cent to $283.5 million.
A Singapore Exchange report yesterday noted that the 25 health-care stocks listed here have yielded an average return of 6 per cent so far this year, including dividends, and an average return of 14.8 per cent, including dividends, over the past 12 months.
The best performing health-care stocks include ISEC Healthcare, which dropped a cent to 48 cents yesterday, Q & M Dental Group, down half a cent to 51.5 cents, Biosensors International, up 2.5 cents to 69.5 cents, and Cordlife Group, which fell two cents to 98.5 cents.