Singapore stocks hit 6-week low; Keppel, Sembcorp Marine lead losses

SGX Logo. Reuters

Singapore shares touched their lowest level in about six weeks on Tuesday as oil service providers declined after Keppel Corp agreed to pay a US$422 million fine for bribing Brazilian officials.

Most other Southeast Asian markets were subdued in trading thinned by year-end holidays. Stock markets in Australia and Hong Kong remained closed after Monday's Christmas holiday, and many financial centers in Europe will also be shut on Tuesday.

Mirroring the muted sentiment, U.S. equity-index futures opened little changed in their first trading this week.

At 0520 GMT, the Straits Times Index dropped 0.38 percent or 13 points to 3,372. It ended 0.09 percent higher on Friday, taking the year-to-date performance to about 18 percent.

Weak economic data further doused risk-on sentiment. Singapore's industrial production rose 5.3 percent in November from a year earlier, however, declines in pharmaceuticals output and offshore engineering offset overall gains.

The year-on-year rise in manufacturing output was lower than the median forecast of a 9 percent expansion in a Reuters poll.

Among the laggards, lenders such as Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp lost 0.4 percent, United Overseas Bank edged down 0.2 percent while DBS Group Holdings declined 0.6 percent.

Shares of mainboard-listed Keppel Corp fell as much as 5 percent to S$7.09 after the U.S. Department of Justice imposed a penalty of US$422 million on Keppel Offshore & Marine.

Sembcorp Marine declined 3.6 percent after the company said it could bear a loss of S$24 million if the sale of the semi-submersible rig West Rigel went through.

About 256 million shares worth S$278 million changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 144 to 143.