STI down slightly, ahead of release of US data

Singapore stocks edged down slightly yesterday, ahead of the release of United States data showing that its economy grew 4.1 per cent in the second quarter. The key Straits Times Index (STI) tracked overnight Wall Street losses to shed 3.62 points, or 0.1 per cent to 3,324.98, after touching an intraday low of 3,313.45 in the morning. Nonetheless, the index is still up 0.8 per cent for the week, and well above the trough of 3,191.82 last seen on July 7, the day after the property cooling measures were announced.

Losers outnumbered gainers 198 to 173, after about 1.93 billion shares worth $936.9 million changed hands. Remisier Desmond Leong noted that the Singapore market has been relatively quiet recently due to a lack of catalysts, and that more IPOs and money need to be pumped into the market for it to “have a bit of life”. The most actively traded counter by volume yesterday was CH Offshore, which rose 0.8 per cent to 13.1 Singapore cents, with 371.7 million shares changing hands. Genting Singapore continued to generate interest, with some 20.7 million shares traded on the back of news that Japan is liberalising its casino industry, and that the group is poised to win a licence there.

The counter closed yesterday at $1.28, up by 1.6 per cent. For the first time this week, all three banks ended the day lower – both DBS and OCBC lost 0.3 per cent each to close at $27.06 and $11.66 respectively, while UOB shaved off 0.1 per cent to $27.32 yesterday.

Another STI stock Singapore Press Holdings ended one cent lower at $2.88. On Thursday evening, the media and property group, referring to media speculation, said it was continuing discussions with various parties to potentially acquire cash-yielding, real-estate assets overseas. In a filing to the Singapore Exchange, it went on to highlight that the negotiations may or may not materialise in any transaction or definitive agreement. SPH said: “If and when there are any material developments which warrant disclosure, the company will, in compliance with applicable rules, make further announcements as appropriate.” It said it would not be commenting further in the meantime. Elsewhere, Asian stocks broadly closed higher as investors digested earnings from the American tech titans, and awaited the release of US data which was expected to show surging growth.

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