Singapore stocks fall on banking sector uncertainty; STI down 1.4%

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SINGAPORE - Local shares tumbled on Monday, as dark clouds over the banking sector in the United States and Europe contributed to a sea of red across key Asian markets.

The Straits Times Index (STI) lost 43.52 points or 1.4 per cent to close at 3,139.76 points.

Across Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, the Shanghai Composite Index, Japan’s Nikkei 225, South Korea’s Kospi and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI landed between 0.5 per cent and 3.2 per cent lower for the day.

Hong Kong shares dropped to a three-month low on Monday, led by banking stocks, while China stocks also ended lower, erasing earlier gains, despite Beijing’s fresh monetary-easing measures to support economic growth.

In the wider Singapore market, losers outnumbered gainers 407 to 194, with 1.5 billion securities worth S$1.2 billion changing hands.

IG market analyst Yeap Jun Rong said: “The initial reaction (of) financial banks in the region to the UBS buyout of Credit Suisse seems to point to more measured gains, suggesting a still-cautious environment as sentiments remain on hold for further developments in the banking space.”

Singapore’s three local lenders all suffered losses on Monday. DBS fell 1 per cent to S$32.22, UOB shed 1.2 per cent to close at S$28.21, and OCBC dropped 1.5 per cent to finish at S$12.08.

Property group Hongkong Land and spirits maker Emperador were the only two gainers among the blue-chip stocks.

Hongkong Land gained 1.2 per cent to close at US$4.22, while Emperador climbed 1 per cent to 52 cents.

The worst performer among the STI counters was airport services and food solutions provider Sats, which fell 5 per cent or to S$2.46.

Thai Beverage was the most heavily traded index stock. The counter closed flat at 64 cents on Monday, after 42.3 million shares changed hands. THE BUSINESS TIMES

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