Volatile trade as oil price, China bourses fall
LOCAL shares see-sawed in volatile trading yesterday before closing lower after shaving earlier losses from a fall in oil prices and a sell-off in Chinese equities.
The Straits Times Index ended 0.06 per cent or 1.86 points down at 2,949.95.
It had lost as much as 20.71 points in late afternoon, dragged down by key blue chips.
CapitaLand slipped 1.6 per cent or five cents to $3.17, Keppel Corp fell 1.3 per cent or eight cents to $5.99 and Singtel dipped 0.3 per cent or one cent to $3.95.
OCBC Investment Research, which has a buy call on CapitaLand, noted that the group posted a 35.4 per cent jump in net profit to $218.3 million for the first quarter, due to the divestment of a Beijing property.
"Overall, we judge this quarter's numbers to be broadly in line with expectation," OCBC said.
Concerns that improving Chinese economic data may slow further government stimulus sent Shanghai shares down 2.3 per cent while Shenzhen dived 4.4 per cent - declines that weighed on bourses across Asia.
Traders said the sell-off may have been triggered after a top central bank economist said that monetary policymakers will rein in excessive borrowing by companies and individuals.
News that Kuwaiti oil workers ended a three-day strike sent crude prices down, which hit oil and gas-related counters.
Ezra Holdings fell 2.9 per cent or 0.3 cent to 10.1 cents, Rex International slipped 3.6 per cent or 0.4 cent to 10.8 cents while Tech Oil & Gas dipped 2.7 per cent or 0.5 cent to 18.1 cents. But penny play Magnus Energy defied the trend, rising 33.3 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.4 cent, with 103.3 million shares traded.
Sembcorp Marine gained 1.9 per cent 3.5 cents to $1.85 despite news that two drill ships being built at Jurong Shipyard for Transocean have had their delivery deferred by 24 months.
Other actively traded counters included Spackman Entertainment Group, which jumped 7.4 per cent or one cent to 14.5 cents, with 81.1 million shares traded.
Sunvic Chemical Holdings was queried by the Singapore Exchange over unusual volume movement but said it could not explain the activity. The stock fell 2.2 per cent or 0.3 cent to 13.2 cents, with 26.7 million shares traded.