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STI falls 0.15% on Thursday; regional markets in profit-taking mode

LOCAL shares remained range-bound on Thursday as traders mulled the implications of resurgent Covid-19 cases in the US and Beijing, and decided that they were not entirely convinced that all the bad news has been priced in.

The Straits Times Index (STI) finished 3.96 points or 0.15 per cent lower at 2,665.66. Losers outnumbered gainers 198 to 195, with 1.41 billion securities worth S$1.18 billion traded.  

Catalist-listed Medtecs International, which makes medical consumables like patients’ apparels, disposable surgical masks, boot covers, surgical gowns and bed linens, was the most actively traded counter, surging 4.5 Singapore cents or 16.36 per cent to S$0.32 on volume of 106.3 million.

Top gainer Jardine Matheson rose US$1.31 or 3.03 per cent to US$44.56. Top loser Great Eastern fell 18 Singapore cents or 0.89 per cent to S$20.04.

STI constituent Venture Corp rose for a third straight day, closing 43 Singapore cents or 2.73 per cent higher at S$16.16. Citi analyst Patrick Yau wrote in a note on Wednesday that the electronics manufacturing services firm should see a rise in contributions from its medical products and life-sciences division in the second half of the year. Citi has a 12-month target price of S$17.51.

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Singapore Airlines fell six Singapore cents or 1.45 per cent to S$4.07 after UOB Kay Hian analyst K Ajith downgraded the airline to "sell" from "buy" and lowered his target price to S$3.80 from S$4.35, citing uncertainty over the extent of the decline in traffic and load factors and consequently, the extent of cash burn.

Regional markets reflected some profit-taking. The KLSE fell 1.40 per cent, the Nikkei fell 0.45 per cent, the Hang Seng fell 0.07 per cent, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.12 per cent.

OCBC Research said in its daily market outlook: "The smell of trade friction is in the air, as the US pulled out of international talks over a new digital tax framework for tech companies. Steven Mnuchin made the decision after failing to reach an agreement with countries looking to place levies on the revenue of American firms. European countries need to be wary of retaliatory measures if they press ahead with their own taxes."

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