SINGAPORE – Downbeat manufacturing data and few leads from elsewhere left local investors looking for direction on Friday.
The uncertain mood left the Straits Times Index (STI) down 0.01 per cent or 0.33 points to 3,207.39, with losers pipping gainers 179 to 173 on trade of 920.4 million shares worth $835.6 million.
UOB senior economist Alvin Liew noted that Singapore’s industrial production had contracted more than forecast in April – down 6.9 per cent year on year and 1.9 per cent from March.
This was the seventh consecutive month of year-on-year decline and the worst streak since 2015.
Mr Liew pointed to the worsening electronics down cycle and weaker external demand, adding that he maintains his forecast for Singapore’s manufacturing to contract by 5.4 per cent this year.
Keppel DC Reit was the STI’s biggest gainer, up 2.5 per cent to $2.09, while Singtel was at the bottom of the table, shedding 2.4 per cent to $2.47.
The banks were mixed: DBS Bank gained 0.1 per cent to $31.63; OCBC Bank closed flat at $12.25; and UOB shed 0.1 per cent to $28.13.
Regional indices were in the black, following a mixed session on Wall Street overnight. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.2 per cent, Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.4 per cent, the Kuala Lumpur Composite gained 0.04 per cent and Australian stocks inched up 0.2 per cent. THE BUSINESS TIMES