STI ends in red despite early gains
Early session gets off to a positive start but closes 11.64 points lower at 3,250.02 on India-Pakistan tension
A game of two halves is a phrase used in sports when describing a match in which each team takes turns at dominating play for one half of the game.
While trading should not be considered a game, the analogy could be applied to yesterday's trading session in Singapore.
The early session got off to a positive start, as IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted that "support in the morning came on the back of the dovish Fed reminder and also the uptick in crude oil prices".
But the Singapore market swung into the red in the later session on the geopolitical tension between India and Pakistan after the latter claimed it had shot down two Indian jets. India, however, said only one jet was shot down.
The Straits Times Index (STI), gained as much as 20 points in the early session, only to close 11.64 points or 0.4 per cent lower at 3,250.02.
Trade activity on the Singapore bourse clocked in at about 1.25 billion securities worth $1.22 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers 244 to 174.
Genting Singapore - the bourse's most traded on the day - ended flat at $1.04 with 42.8 million shares traded.
On trade volumes in the casino operator, UOB Kay Hian's vice-president of equities and financial products Brandon Leu noted that there was "a good hustle between buyers and sellers in the market".
Pennies saw heavy trading, with the most actively traded on the day being KrisEnergy. On Tuesday, the upstream oil and gas company posted a higher net loss for the fourth quarter of US$97.3 million (S$131 million), up from US$87.6 million in the year-ago period.
The performance prompted a sell-off as the counter closed 0.6 cent or 7.4 per cent lower at 7.5 cents, with 29.9 million shares changing hands.
Of the 30 STI constituents, 19 counters ended in the red. The trio of counters bearing the Jardine name were among the blue-chip index's best performers.
Jardine Matheson Holdings closed US$1.37 or 2 per cent higher at US$71.23, Jardine Strategic Holdings added 57 US cents or 1.4 per cent to close at US$40.25 and Jardine Cycle & Carriage rounded up the day 21 cents or 0.6 per cent higher at $36.63.
Among financials, DBS Group Holdings dipped two cents or 0.1 per cent to close at $25.15, OCBC Bank dropped two cents or 0.2 per cent to $11.18 and United Overseas Bank ended nine cents or 0.4 per cent lower at $25.21.
Meanwhile, the oil price rebound meant Sembcorp Marine (up two cents or 1.2 per cent at $1.73) outperformed the benchmark index throughout the day.
Venture Corp shares closed 29 cents or 1.6 per cent lower at $17.80. CMC market analyst Margaret Yang suggested profit-taking might have been at play following Monday's 12.3 per cent jump in the stock.
Best World International shares rose as much as 8.3 per cent yesterday after it posted a Q4 net profit of $28.1 million, up 28.9 per cent from the same period a year earlier. The counter eventually closed three cents or 1.2 per cent up at $2.56.
Elsewhere in Asia, markets that closed before news broke of the Indian jets (Australia, Japan, South Korea and mainland China) ended higher, while those that did not (Hong Kong and Malaysia) closed with losses.
The latest chapter in India-Pakistan relations over Kashmir is likely to remain a major topic for the rest of the week. Ms Yang said: "Concern about further escalation in the military confrontation would quench risk appetite across Asia and hence drive demand for safe-havens."
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