Most Asian markets end lower, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Most Asian markets end lower

This article is more than 12 months old

Monday saw markets responding positively to US-China trade developments. But the fact that a deal remained merely prospective and not a certainty meant that risk-off moods resurfaced.

Add China's lowering of its gross domestic product target to 6 per cent to 6.5 per cent for 2019, and you have the scene that broadly directed Asian trading.

FXTM global head of currency strategy and market research Jameel Ahmad said: "The global economy was once again reminded of the risks that external headwinds can pose for domestic markets today."

Aberdeen Standard Investments' chief economist Jeremy Lawson noted that China's lowered growth target suggested that "the reforms that US President Donald Trump is demanding matter much more for China than the US".

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index yesterday slipped 17.01 points or 0.5 per cent to close at 3,234.07.

Elsewhere in Asia, markets in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia also ended lower while Hong Kong closed flat.

Bucking the trend were markets in mainland China, which were buoyed by Beijing's plans to cut taxes and increase public expenditure and lending to lift its slowing economy.

The Shanghai composite index added 0.9 per cent or 26.67 points to close at 3,054.25. ChiNext - the equivalent of Nasdaq - added 3.5 per cent.

While the tax cuts were bigger than expected, the effect was contained domestically, IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said.

Trading on the Singapore bourse clocked in at about 1.2 billion securities worth $1.07 billion. Decliners outnumbered gainers 256 to 158. Just eight of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the black.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the bourse's most traded counter on the day. It ended the session three cents or 2.1 per cent lower at $1.40 with 38.6 million shares changing hands.

The shipbuilder was the Singapore Exchange's (SGX) third most active stock by traded value.

With $54 million of shares traded, it was more than double the average daily traded value of $23.1 million for the past three months.

SGX market strategist Geoff Howie noted: "Over the past two sessions multiple research providers made adjustments to their outlook for the stock, which followed its report of a 23 per cent year-on-year increase in FY2018 earnings."

Singapore tech counters saw heavy trading yesterday with Hi-P International closing one cent or 0.7 per cent lower to $1.50 on 28.3 million shares traded. AEM Holdings ended one cent or 0.9 per cent lower at $1.16 with 20.9 million shares traded. Venture Corp lost 37 cents or 1.9 per cent to $18.72.

Tech counters were mostly up for the session before closing lower.

CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang told BT that such counters mostly pared gains after 3pm, as speculative activities faded after China's stock market closed.

Among financials, DBS Group Holdings closed seven cents or 0.3 per cent down at $25.43; OCBC Bank dropped five cents or 0.4 per cent to $11.20; while United Overseas Bank ended 12 cents or 0.5 per cent lower at $25.15.

Defensive counters like Singtel and ThaiBev closed flat at $2.99 and 79.5 cents respectively.

Credit rating agency Moody's downgraded its outlook on Singtel to "negative" from "stable" on glum expectations for the telco's underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the next one-and-a-half years.

Agri-food company Japfa closed 0.5 cent or 0.7 per cent higher at 71 cents.

The counter had been hit due to the outbreak of African swine flu in Vietnam, which UOB Kay Hian analyst John Cheong said in a report was oversold.

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