STI falls as Asian markets end mixed
Uncertainty over upcoming US Consumer Price Index data and MAS policy meeting add to wariness
Asian markets closed mixed yesterday, as investors hesitated.
On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund cut its global economic growth forecast for the first time in more than two years, to 3.7 per cent from 3.9 per cent for this year and next.
It cited risks such as escalating trade tensions between the US and other countries and stresses in emerging markets.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei index ended higher after four days of losses, gaining 0.16 per cent to 23,506.04. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also broke a six-session losing streak and rose 0.1 per cent to 26,193.07 points.
China’s Shanghai Composite index added 0.18 per cent to end at 2,725.84, while the Shenzhen Composite index retreated 0.15
per cent to 1,383.05.
Australia’s ASX 200 improved 0.1 per cent to 6,049.80.
However, Singapore and Seoul missed out on the gains, with the Kospi index hitting a 17-month low in its longest losing streak since September last year. It ended down 1.12 per cent at 2,228.62 in its seventh straight session of fall.
Singapore’s key Straits Times Index (STI) entered a fifth session of losses, registering a 1.11 per cent drop as it gave up 35.12 points to end at 3,131.48 from 3,166.6 the day before.
Losers beat gainers 302 to 119, as 1.6 billion shares worth $1.1 billion changed hands.
“The leads in store for Asian markets had been mixed this Wednesday and of which tech stocks, including Venture Corp on the STI, can be seen feeling the implications of another round of hardware hack surrounding Chinese producers, thus weighing on the overall index,” said IG market strategist Pan Jingyi.
She said uncertainty over upcoming US Consumer Price Index data and the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) policy meeting also contributed to the risk-off atmosphere.
Analysts continued to differ on whether the MAS will tighten monetary policy or maintain a neutral stance tomorrow.
Mr Jameel Ahmad, global head of currency strategy and market research at FXTM, said if he had to pick a side, he would take the view that the MAS will leave the Singdollar policy unchanged for now, given the external headwinds of trade tensions and emerging market
stresses are likely to persist and can be acted on at a later date if they escalate.
Transport operator ComfortDelGro led index stocks in losses, shedding 12 cents or 5.1 per cent to end at $2.25.
About 18.4 million shares changed hands following a Straits Times report that Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek is preparing to launch in Singapore next month.
Shares of troubled commodities firm Noble Group fell 0.6 cent or 4.7 per cent to 12.3 cents, with 8.6 million shares traded.
Noble said in a Singapore Exchange filing yesterday that potential “other scheme creditor” Yancoal Australia and some of its affiliates intend to file objections to aspects of Noble’s restructuring plan.
Its advisers said such objections, which concern the constitution of classes and the schemes under the restructuring plan as well as the jurisdiction of the English courts, are not uncommon in complex international restructurings.
After market close, Noble announced it had divested its interest in an Indonesian subsidiary for a nominal US$1 in cash.
Addvalue Technologies was a bright spot amid the gloom, as it advanced 0.1 cent or 3.8 per cent to $0.029 with 27.8 million shares changing hands.
The company said on Tuesday it had snagged a contract to provide its inter-satellite data relay system to a low-Earth orbit satellite operator.