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STI suffers third consecutive loss

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THE Straits Times Index on Thursday drifted to a 12.73 points loss at 2,848.46, amidst low volume of 990.4 million units worth S$879 million. Of the dollar value, S$622 million or 71 per cent was done in the 30 STI components and excluding warrants, there were 114 rises versus 262 falls. It was the index's third consecutive fall, bringing the three-day loss to about 52 points or 1.8 per cent.

The index was weighed down by weakness in the banks and Ascendas Reit, the latter after it announced a large placement of units at a discount to the market price to finance its S$420 million purchase of One@Changi City.

Brokers said a combination of factors was adversely affecting overall sentiment - a soft Wall Street, a slowing China, next week's US Federal Open Markets Committee meeting at which an interest rate hike is expected and the upcoming Christmas holidays.

A-Reit fell S$0.10 or 4.2 per cent to S$2.28 on Thursday on volume of 33.4 million units cutting about 2.7 points off the STI. Its placement was fixed at S$2.223.

OCBC Investment Research said it has lowered its FY16 and FY17 distribution per unit forecasts for A-Reit by 1.3 and 3.2 per cent, respectively due to the dilutive impact of the equity financing and has cut its fair value for the counter from S$2.58 to S$2.50 while maintaining its "buy".

RHB also set a S$2.50 target, saying it likes A-Reit's exposure to the business park sector.

The other notable fall within the STI was Noble Group, which dropped S$0.015 to close at a seven-year low of S$0.39 on volume of 26.6 million. There was no announcement from the company that might have explained the slide.