STI's winning streak ends despite Wall Street rally
THE local stock market fell into a lull yesterday as it ended a six-day winning streak - not even getting a lift from a strong overnight showing on Wall Street.
The benchmark Straits Times Index closed 7.25 points or 0.21 per cent lower at 3,447.01.
Since March 23, the benchmark had marched ahead to a new 12-month high of 3,454.26 on Monday.
The fall at home was in contrast to the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the United States, which overnight posted its biggest daily gain since Feb 3, owing partly to support from merger and acquisition deals.
The US, which is set to release non-farm payroll data on Good Friday, will remain a key weathercock for the STI, but investors are now selling off on the recent high, remisier Desmond Leong told The Straits Times.
"The 3,460 level is the previous high so there's a resistance level around there and it's normal to see people taking profit now. The market in the next few days will remain similarly quiet."
Phillip Futures investment analyst Howie Lee agreed: "With the US job data out on Friday, there's not much impetus to push over the resistance level. As the market pulls back, there's been profit-taking, particularly in the banking sector."
United Overseas Bank closed 23 cents or 0.99 per cent lower at $23, while OCBC dropped eight cents or 0.75 per cent to $10.57. DBS Group Holdings shed two cents or 0.1 per cent to close at $20.36. Also among the losers on the STI was Golden Agri-Resources, which closed one cent or 2.3 per cent down at 42.5 cents. Genting Singapore continued its extended poor form amid concerns of slowing VIP revenue, closing one cent or 1.08 per cent lower at 92 cents.
Hongkong Land was the blue chip that rose the most, closing 13 US cents or 1.75 per cent higher at US$7.55. The counter may have benefited from improved sentiment on China's monetary policy outlook, which will trickle down to its Hong Kong property portfolio, Mr Leong said.
StarHub also closed six cents or 1.4 per cent up at $4.35, while Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) rose three cents or 1.17 per cent to close at $2.59, following announcement that it has acquired a multi-tenanted building in Singapore Science Park II for $112 million.
Beyond the STI, the small and mid-cap stocks have staged a mini rally over the past week, with FTSE Catalist Index rising by 6.13 per cent to 699.51 after hitting a full-year low on March 19.
The best performer of the lot was Sino Construction, which shot up 1.2 cent or 34.29 per cent to 4.7 cents yesterday. The company announced on March 30 a share placement that would raise $6.5 million from four investors.
"The interest rate outlook still remains positive for the next few months. This may help improve investors' risk appetite for mid-cap stocks," Mr Lee said.
Overseas markets were a mixed bag. Shanghai dropped 1.02 per cent as investors exited for profit after the Chinese benchmark hit its highest since March 2008 earlier this week. Hong Kong rose 0.18 per cent while Tokyo lost 1.05 per cent.