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STI closes 1.78% lower on Monday, dragged by JMH

THE Straits Times Index (STI) fell for the third straight day on Monday, closing 44.91 points or 1.78 per cent lower at 2,484.91.

Fears over a resurgence in Covid-19 cases globally dragged the industrials-heavy STI - which includes Keppel Corp, Singapore Airlines and Sats - lower. Property and bank counters also contributed to the drubbing.

A seasonally weak August is in view for US markets, said IG market strategist Jingyi Pan, while concerns about a slowing pace of recovery and renewed US-China tensions could be triggers for market movements in Asia this week. She added: "The 5.51 per cent gain for the comprehensive S&P 500 index in the month of July falls in line with the seasonality trend and marks the strongest July seen since 2010. August, however, holds a significantly weaker performance by seasonality for US equities."

About 1.55 billion securities worth S$1.73 billion changed hands on Monday. Losers outnumbered gainers 281 to 190.

Top loser Jardine Matheson Holdings (JMH) fell US$2.96 or 7.23 per cent to US$37.96, after its first-half underlying net profit came in below expectations last Thursday due to Covid-19. The index heavyweight also warned that second-half performance would be difficult to predict.

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CGS-CIMB analyst William Tng raised Jardine Matheson from "hold" to "add" over the weekend, but lowered his target price from US$52.53 to US$48.61, representing 0.78 times its FY20 book value, which is 0.5 standard deviations below its historical 20-year average price-to-book value.

Top gainer UG Healthcare rose 37 Singapore cents or 14.57 per cent to S$2.91.

Top active Medtecs International rose 11 Singapore cents or 12.22 per cent to S$1.01, on volume of 76.8 million.

Moya Holdings Asia was the second most active counter, surging 1.3 Singapore cents or 22.03 per cent to S$0.072 on volume of 47.4 million. The Indonesian water-treatment firm reported a net profit of S$16.6 million in the first half, up 167 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

Regional markets were mixed. The Hang Seng Index fell 0.56 per cent, while the KLSE shed 1.94 per cent. Equities in Japan and China were boosted by promising economic data. The Shanghai Composite climbed 1.75 per cent, and the Nikkei advanced 2.24 per cent.

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