Singapore stocks close almost flat
SINGAPORE， Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — Singapore shares closed 0.01 percent lower on Monday， as investors turned cautious after U.S. reported less upbeat economic data last Friday.
Last Friday， data showed U.S. retail sales growth was unexpectedly flat in July as consumers cut back on buying clothes and other goods， while the producer price index fell 0.4 percent in July， the biggest drop in nearly a year.
Investors will wait for U.S. inflation figures for July and minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting which might offer more clues on the chance of an interest rate hike by year end.
Meanwhile， investors turned focus to the Shanghai market which hit a seven-month high over buoyant trading in brokerage stocks amid rumors of an imminent launch of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Connect program.
Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index inched down 0.19 points to 2，867.21 points. Trading volume was 815 million shares worth 721 million Singapore dollars. Advancers outnumbered decliners 212 to 179， while 515 stocks did not move.
Among top actives， Noble Group fell 3.4 percent to 14.3 Singapore cents. Fitch Ratings said Noble’s liquidity crunch in second quarter is temporary and Noble will have sufficient liquidity in third quarter， following its rights offering and working capital reductions.
But Fitch warned Noble’s decision to sell its North American energy business， which is currently on the table， could put pressure on its ratings due to a significant reduction in its business scale or earning generation.
SIIC Environment Holdings rose 1.7 percent to 60.5 Singapore cents. The water treatment and environmental protection company based in China reported net profit of 101.16 million Chinese yuan in second quarter， 21.8 percent higher from a year ago， due mainly to the recognition of value added tax refund imposed on billing raised from concession service agreements， which was effective only in July 2015.
Its revenue also surged 33.5 percent to 556.27 million Chinese yuan from the previous year due largely to stronger contributions from its construction business.
Among top gainers， Singapore Airlinese rose 1.6 percent to 10.94 Singapore dollars， while Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 1.7 percent to 42.59 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 6.64 Chinese yuan and 1.34 Singapore dollars)