Business

Local shares fall for third straight day

Threat by Pyongyang to pull out of Trump-Kim summit weighs on Asian markets, Singapore shares fall for third straight day

Asian markets mostly fell yesterday, as Singapore shares extended their loss for the third consecutive session, with the Straits Times Index down 7.18 points or 0.2 per cent to 3,533.05.

Some two billion shares worth $1.4 billion were traded. Losers outpaced gainers slightly at 257 to 162.

Other markets that traded below the water included Japan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, India and Thailand, even as the US dollar continued to strengthen as worries about US interest rate increases resurfaced.

Meanwhile, news that North Korea had threatened to pull out of a historic summit over US nuclear demands also unnerved markets.

North Korea first said it was due to joint military exercises being held between the US and South Korea, but later warned Washington not to push Pyongyang into abandoning its nuclear programme.

In the US, Wall Street was pressured by surging yields, IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted, adding that the yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury notes is touching the highest level since 2011.

The blame?

A series of positive data, she said.

"While April's headline retail sales number arrived in line with expectations at 0.3 per cent month on month, the control group (which excludes autos, gasoline and construction materials) accelerated to 0.4 per cent, sparking expectations for more rate hikes.

"For the market, this makes all the difference, given how the figure feeds directly into the computation for gross domestic product (GDP)."

The positive data likely fed into expectations for better GDP numbers to come, raking up interest rate hike expectations.

Already, the CME FedWatch tool now points to an over 50 per cent likelihood of three or more hikes occurring for the rest of the year.

LOSERS

On the local bourse, the day's biggest losers included blue chips such as in-flight catering service provider Sats, ahead of its May 30 results release.

There was no clear reason for its 19 cents or 3.4 per cent drop to $5.37, but Bloomberg noted that this was the biggest decline in over a year.

Its trading volume, at 3.1 million shares, was significantly heavier than usual. The stock is also now at a 4.6 per cent discount to analysts' consensus target price.

Property developer City Developments also fell 25 cents or 2 per cent to $11.97, culminating in a close to 5 per cent share price fall since May 10.

Its retreat exceeded the drop in the FTSE index tracking Singapore-listed developers, a day after data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed private home sales in April staying largely unchanged versus March and down 53 per cent year on year.

Electronics manufacturer Venture Corp lost 96 cents or 4.3 per cent to $21.22, after Credit Suisse wrote in a note that the sharper-than-expected slowdown in Venture Corp's test, measurement and medical segment coincided with a decline in Singapore's electronic exports and a peaking of revenue growth expectations at key customers.

News that it has been added to two stock indices and removed from one after mid-year reviews by index providers MSCI and FTSE failed to cheer the stock.

The company is now included in the MSCI Singapore Index, as well as the FTSE Value-Stocks Asean Index; it was dropped from the MSCI Singapore Small Cap Index.

Jardine Matheson also lost 20 US cents (27 Singapore cents) or 0.3 per cent to US$62.22, after a group of persons and entities related to chairman Henry Keswick, managing director Ben Keswick and other directors announced a series of share acquisitions yesterday.

For full listings of SGX prices, go to http://btd.sg/BTmkts