Thursday, September 22, 2011

May Be Because of This

Singapore Stocks-Fall on Fed's warning of grim outlook

* Index down 1.7 percent at 0500 GMT
* Property stocks fall as slowdown feared
* Cosco Corp seen in rough waters
* Construction orders still coming onstream-Kim Eng
SINGAPORE, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Singapore shares fell on Thursday after the Federal Reserve's warning that the United States faced a grim economic outlook hurt sentiment and drove down U.S. stocks by more than 2 percent.
At 0500 GMT, the Straits Times Index (STI) was down 1.7 percent, or 48.25 points, at 2,743.54. Around 576 million shares worth S$592 million were traded, compared with 508 million shares worth S$478 million that changed hands by the same time on Wednesday.
The STI was around 63 points away from its 2011 low of 2,680.83 points hit on Aug 22.
The Fed warned of significant risks to the already weak U.S. economy and launched a new plan to lower long-term borrowing costs and bolster the battered housing market, but many economists and analysts doubted it would do much to revive the sputtering economy.
"The Fed seems to have run out of ideas," said Terence Wong, co-head of research at DMG & Partners Securities in Singapore. "The outlook is still volatile with a downward bias."
Shares of Singapore property stocks tumbled on fears that developers may soon start cutting prices in the face of slowing sales. CapitaLand was down 2.7 percent and City Developments was 2.6 percent lower.
"The sales volumes have not really gone up as fast as before, and if you look at recent launches at least in the last couple of months, prices have also stagnated," said Donald Chua, an analyst at CIMB Research.
"All these are possibly signs that the sector looks to be slowing down," he added.
Fears of a global slowdown also pushed down the shares of Singapore-listed Chinese shipbuilder Cosco Corp . The stock fell 2.5 percent to S$0.99 with 10.7 million shares changing hands.
Commodity-related stocks were hit as well. Palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources fell 2.9 percent, while commodity traders Olam International and Noble Group lost 3.5 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively.
However, Singapore brokerage Kim Eng Securities said in a report that "the pipeline of construction contracts has never been stronger" in the city-state.
Kim Eng added that the construction industry's current valuation, at a low price-earnings ratio of 4.9 times, might not have factored in potential growth in orders and earnings. (Reporting by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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