STI falls as Asian mar­kets end mixed

The New Paper - - BUSINESS - LEILA LAI

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.

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