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Singapore shares decline as global rally cools; STI opens 0.6% lower

SINGAPORE shares pulled back at Thursday's open, following a mixed close on Wall Street overnight on disappointing US economic data.

The poorer showing also comes after local shares ended in the red on Wednesday, as investor optimism waned.

On Thursday, the benchmark Straits Times (STI) Index retreated 18.34 points or 0.6 per cent to 2,851.21 as at 9.01am.

Gainers outpaced losers 69 to 47, after about 74.5 million securities worth S$49.1 million changed hands.

Among the index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Thai Beverage Public Co, which added 1.5 Singapore cents or 2.1 per cent to 73.5 cents, with 2.9 million shares traded. The mainboard-listed company on Wednesday posted a 2 per cent dip in full-year net profit to 22.75 billion baht (S$1 billion), dragged by the overall contraction in the beverage industry due to Covid-19 prevention measures.

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Meanwhile, local telco Singtel sank S$0.07 or 2.8 per cent to S$2.41, with 2.1 million shares traded on an ex-dividend basis.

The trio of local lenders were down in early trade. DBS slipped S$0.20 or 0.8 per cent to S$25.48, OCBC shed S$0.12 or 1.2 per cent to S$$10.01, while UOB fell S$0.20 or 0.9 per cent to S$23.04.

In a research note earlier this week, Maybank Kim Eng noted that the recent run-up in the stocks of OCBC, UOB and DBS may be "unsustainable" and downgraded all three to "sell".

Separately, UOB has sold the first negative-yielding bond out of Singapore, and market watchers say it won't be the last from the Singapore banks.

Other active stocks included Rex International which was up 0.8 Singapore cent or 5.2 per cent to 16.3 Singapore cents, while CapitaLand Retail China Trust slipped S$0.02 or 1.6 per cent to S$1.25.

Over in the US, Wall Street stocks saw a mixed finish, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average taking a breather, one day after crossing the 30,000-point mark for the first time, while the Nasdaq closed at a new high.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index was up 0.5 per cent at 12,094.40 by the closing bell. Amid news of mounting US layoffs, the 30-stock Dow shed 0.6 per cent to 29,872.47, while the broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent to close at 3,629.65.

European shares finished lower on Wednesday, ending a four-day winning streak, as traders booked profits and surging coronavirus cases capped demand for risky assets. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index dropped 0.1 per cent, with energy and automobile stocks leading declines.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday, with the market lacking fresh leads. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.1 per cent or 30.16 points at 26,266.70 in early trade, while the broader Topix index edged down 0.4 per cent or 7.11 points to 1,760.56.

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