singapores sti falters again as the us jobs report weighs 1486672015

A rally in Hong Kong did not lift Singapore stocks

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Singapore stocks ended the week on a depressed note with the benchmark Straits Times Index down marginally. During the week the STI wavered between a low of 2,740.36 and a high of 2,829.64, a roughly 100-point band, but closed with a weekly loss of 1.4 per cent.

Singapore stocks appeared to be unaffected by the bullish goings-on in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index advanced three per cent to 9,651.45 at 10:28 am local time Friday, and heading for its biggest gain in three weeks. Instead, the domestic bourse was likely weighed down by the US jobs report to be released later the same day.


The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 8.7 points or 0.31 per cent lower at 2,793.15, taking the year-to-date performance to -17.00 per cent.

The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index and the FTSE ST Small Cap Index both declined 0.35 per cent.

The Singapore Exchange traded a volume of 1,375.7 million shares valued at SG$888.8 million. Gainers outnumbered losers by 192/188.

Amongst the FTSE ST sectors, the gaining sectors included real estate holding and development (+1.46 per cent), basic materials (+1.15 per cent), real estate (+0.65 per cent), China (+0.54 per cent) and technology (+0.29 per cent). Losing sectors included telecommunications (-1.10 per cent), maritime (-0.48 per cent), healthcare (-0.46 per cent) and utilities (-0.31 per cent).


Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX:S68) was up 0.14 per cent to SG$7.16. The exchange took pains to clarify that it was taking all actions to boost liquidity, trading activity and new listings on the exchange. SGX head of sales and clients Chew Sutat said to Straits Times: "Over the year, we have organized at least 66 events profiling over 120 listed companies. We have done six corporate days in not just Singapore, but also Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur, to reach out to institutional investors and private wealth. All these are very tangible."

Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd (SGX:Z59) lost 4.11 per cent to SG$0.350. According to the Business Times, the Myanmar focused real estate developer’s joint-venture partner in a telco tower business is intending to exit by selling off its entire 75 per cent stake for US$221 million (SG$316.5 million) to a unit of Malaysian telco Axiata Group. Yoma is now considering the options relating to its 25 per cent stake in the venture, and was in discussions with edotco Group, the Axiata unit.

Economic news

According to Credit Suisse, Asian stock valuations (excluding Japan) are off just 4 per cent from the lows touched during the global financial crisis, as reported by the Business Times. Separately, according to Business Insider, a Credit Suisse team that was investigating investor appetite for risk found that it fits the profile of a full-blown panic at the current juncture.

Bloomberg reports that Barclays Capital recommends buying emerging market stocks even though pessimism rules at its worst. Equities have reported the first quarter in four years, and fund flows to emerging markets have fallen behind those to developed countries by an extent seen only in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2014, said Ian Scott of Barclays Capital. “The degree of selling relative to developed-market equities is about as negative as it gets,” said Scott, who is the head of equity strategy at Barclays. “At this point, emerging-market equities have responded by outperforming over the next six to 12 months. I think this is going to repeat itself.”

The non-farm payrolls report out of the US on Friday showed that US employment was softer than expected. Only 142,000 jobs were added in September, against expectations of 201,000 jobs, though the unemployment rate was at 5.1 per cent, as expected. The weak employment data led to speculation that the US Fed would likely delay the much feared interest rate liftoff.

On Wall Street Friday investors treated the soft jobs report as good news and boosted the stock indices higher from their opening lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 200.36 points (1.23 per cent) to 16,472.37. The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 27.54 (1.43 per cent) to 1,951.36, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 80.69 (1.74 per cent) at 4,707.77.

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