Wednesday, May 21, 2008

S'pore shares close down 0.09%

May 21, 2008, 6.24 pm (Singapore time)

SINGAPORE - Singapore share prices closed 0.09 per cent lower on Wednesday as oil prices surpassed US$130 a barrel, highlighting concerns about their impact on inflation and economic growth, dealers said.

The blue chip Straits Times Index fell 2.98 points to 3,196.90 on volume of 2.17 billion shares worth $1.9 billion (US$1.4 billion).

Rising issues led decliners 319 to 299 with 970 stocks unchanged.

The price of oil hit a record high point of US$130.05 a barrel on Wednesday on anxiety about stretched supplies in the face of strong demand for energy, and as the dollar weakened, fuelling inflation fears.

'Inflation is not a new issue but the continued rise in oil prices is making the market nervous,' said K. Ajith, an analyst with UOB Kay Hian.

The market's pullback presents a buying opportunity, said Najeeb Jarhom, research head for retail markets at Amfraser Securities.

Banking shares were mixed, with DBS Group dropping 20 cents to $19.80, United Overseas Bank down two cents at $20.02 and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp steady at $8.90.

Property heavyweights ended slightly lower, with CapitaLand sliding six cents to $6.60, City Developments down six cents at $11.62 and Keppel Land shedding three cents to $5.70.

Singapore Airlines gained four cents to $16.06 and Singapore Telecommunications was steady at $3.68. -- AFP

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