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STI Holds Steady

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by Donavan Lim

Singapore equities closed flat on Friday on uninspiring Chinese data.

China’s exports rose a dismal 1 per cent in July, far below estimates, sparking concerns that the world’s second largest economy will have to re-think its monetary policy so as to provide additional stimulus.

At the same time, the Singapore economy contracted a better-than-expected 0.7 per cent in the second quarter as compared with the preceding quarter.

The benchmark Straits Times Index lost 1.95 points, closing at 3,054.20.

Fraser & Neave continued to attract investors’ interest. The food and beverage conglomerate closed at S$8.57, up S$0.08. Earlier, shares of the company hit an intra-day high of S$8.66 as news spread that a  block of 18.8 million F&N shares, or about 1.3 per cent of the company’s issued shares, changed hands at S$8.60 apiece, prompting speculation that Thai Beverage had raised its stake in the Singapore company.

On situational plays, Keppel Corp rose 1.5 per cent, closing at S$11.40, after it clinched two rig-building contracts worth about US$950 million from Brazil’s Petrobras.

Rival Sembcorp Marine gained 0.8 per cent to S$5.03.

CapitaLand shed 2.29 per cent, to end at S$2.99, as investors adopt a cautious view on the Chinese economy and property market.

Elsewhere, the Hang Seng Index ended down at 20,136.12, while Nikkei 225 Index closed at 8,891.44.

“We approach next week with cautious optimism, knowing on one hand that risk assets like equities have rallied hard since the June lows, while on the other a new dynamic has taken hold whereby rotation into more cyclically-focused stocks has become apparent,” said Justin Harper of IG Markets in Singapore.