Singapore stocks track Wall Street losses; STI down 0.6%

SINGAPORE – Local shares bucked regional trends on Monday, as expectations of further rate hikes by the United States Federal Reserve weighed on investor sentiment.

The Straits Times Index (STI) shed 0.6 per cent or 19.62 points to 3,308.75. On the broader market, losers beat gainers 302 to 239 after 1.7 billion shares worth $847.7 million changed hands.

Across the region, other major markets were largely in the black. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.8 per cent, Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 per cent, and South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index climbed 0.2 per cent.

IG market analyst Yeap Jun Rong noted that major US indices ended last week on a “mixed tone” as US economic data seemed to indicate the need for further rate hikes.

“Higher-than-expected inflation readings, coupled with a robust retail sales figure, have led market participants to revisit their rate expectations, with growing bets that three more 25-basis-point hikes will be warranted,” he said.

“More Fed members have also jumped in to call for higher rates, although it will likely take further strength in upcoming data to anchor their views before the next Fed meeting.”

Five of the STI’s top seven gainers on Monday were real estate investment trusts. Coming out on top was Mapletree Logistics Trust, which gained 1.2 per cent to $1.69.

Sats ended the day at the bottom of the table, shedding 3.9 per cent to $2.75.

The trio of local banks were also in the red. DBS Bank fell 0.3 per cent to $34.92, OCBC Bank dipped 0.6 per cent to $13.05, and UOB slipped 1 per cent to $30.67. THE BUSINESS TIMES