STI declines 0.2% as sessions across Asia end mixed on coronavirus variant concerns

SINGAPORE shares retreated slightly on Thursday against a mixed showing by regional peers as the highly contagious Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus threatens to derail economic recovery.

The benchmark *STI declined 0.2 per cent or 6.27 points to 3,124.19. Across the broader market, advancers outpaced decliners 202 to 177 after some 1.33 billion securities worth S$975.4 million changed hands.

IG's market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said that investors will be keeping an eye on risk factors such as the Delta variant and the upcoming US payrolls report.

"Although there has been optimism on the vaccine front to curb the Delta variant, the vaccination progress in the region will have to see some significant pick-up to deal with the spreads. Otherwise, Covid-19 restrictions will still remain the go-to option, delaying the pace of economic recovery," he said.

Elsewhere in the region, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index and Jakarta Composite Index were up 0.1 per cent and 0.34 per cent respectively. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.29 per cent; South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.44 per cent. Hong Kong was closed for the observance of the Special Administrative Region Establishment Day. (see Amendment note)

Among the STI constituents, BS6 was the best performing, gaining 1.4 per cent or S$0.02 to S$1.43.

At the bottom of the table was N2IU, which fell 1.4 per cent or S$0.03 to S$2.13.

Y92 was the most heavily traded by volume on the blue-chip index with over 24 million shares changing hands. Its shares ended the day flat at 67.5 Singapore cents.

Z74 was the next most active counter on the STI. Its shares dipped 0.4 per cent or S$0.01 to S$2.28. The telco announced on Thursday that it had applied for a digital bank licence in Malaysia through its joint venture with Grab, together with a consortium of other investors.

Among the banking trio, D05 was the only one that ended in the black with shares gaining 0.7 per cent or S$0.20 to S$30.01. U11 fell 0.2 per cent or S$0.06 to S$25.76 while O39 shed 0.4 per cent or S$0.05 to S$11.90.

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Amendment note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Hang Seng Index ended the day lower. The exchange was in fact closed for the observance of the Special Administrative Region Establishment Day.

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