STI's slide reflects region's pessimism

STI's slide reflects region's pessimism

LOCAL shares were again knocked by a fresh sell-off yesterday, as worries over the global economy continued to bite.

The Straits Times Index slid 43.82 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 2,538.28.

It reflected the regionwide weakness, with Hong Kong slumping 3.9 per cent while Seoul sank 2.9 per cent on the back of concerns over China's slowing economy and volatile oil prices.

Sydney bucked the trend, rising 1 per cent, while Jakarta climbed 0.9 per cent.

Wall Street dipped 0.6 per cent overnight, extending its losses since Feb 4, as traders took in the sobering testimony of United States Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen.

Tim Condon, head of Asian research at ING Groep NV in Singapore, told Bloomberg: "We're seeing a contagion from what's been going on in the last three days in global markets.

"This is the first day South Korea and Hong Kong are registering a sort of reaction to that. It's a huge down day. Financial markets are repricing for a global growth slowdown. Expectations that monetary policy would be able to do much have diminished considerably."

Yesterday's losses here were led largely by telco Singtel, which dropped 12 cents or 3.3 per cent to $3.54 on a heavy volume of 42.2 million units ahead of its third-quarter results today.

An OCBC Investment Research report said it expects the group to record revenue of about $4.4 billion - supported by still-strong handset sales, though potentially mitigated by the weaker Australian dollar against the Singapore dollar - and underlying net profit of $945 million.

Local lenders continued to fare poorly: DBS Group Holdings fell 24 cents or 1.8 per cent to $13.14; OCBC Bank lost 11 cents or 1.5 per cent to $7.45; while United Overseas Bank pared six cents or 0.3 per cent to $17.50.

Commodity plays came under pressure as well, with Noble Group slumping two cents or 6.2 per cent to 30.5 cents. Golden Agri-Resources logged a steep 1.5 cents or 4 per cent fall to 36 cents, while Wilmar International slipped two cents or 0.7 per cent to $2.95.

CapitaLand Mall Trust was among the few gainers, putting on one cent or 0.5 per cent to $2.08. SIA Engineering inched up one cent or 0.3 per cent to $3.47.

Industrial real-estate engineering and construction group Boustead Projects shaved 2.5 cents or 3.9 per cent to 62 cents. This came as it announced a 165 per cent spike in third-quarter earnings to $7.2 million.

Penny stock LionGold Corporation was the day's most active, with 43 million units traded. The counter plummeted 0.1 cent or 20 per cent to 0.4 cents. The gold miner announced after the markets closed that a substantial shareholder, Tan Soh Eng, has sold 26.9 million shares for $107,512.

Across the bourse, a total of 816.9 million shares worth $1.05 billion changed hands.

tsjwoo@sph.com.sg


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