Singapore's Straits Times Index (FSSTI) fell 78.06, or 4.1 percent, to close at 1,806.96, halting a two-day, 3.6 percent rally. More than six stocks retreated for every one that advanced among the measure's 30 constituents.
Palm oil companies: Golden Agri Resources Ltd. (GGR) , owner of the world's second-largest oil-palm plantation, slipped half a Singapore cent, or 2.5 percent, to 19.5 cents. About 109 million shares changed hands, making it the most actively traded stock by volume on the exchange. Wilmar International Ltd. (WIL) , the world's biggest palm oil trader and a supplier of biodiesel, dropped 22 cents, or 7.8 percent, to S$2.59, the most in more than two weeks.
Palm oil futures fell in Malaysia for the first time in three days as crude oil declined, curtailing demand prospects for biofuels.
CapitaCommercial Trust (CCT) , the office landlord partly owned by Singapore's largest developer, dropped 4 Singapore cents, or 4 percent, to 96 cents, retreating from a one-week high. UBS AG cut its rating on the shares to ``sell'' from ``neutral,'' citing concern the trust may need to raise funds.
CapitaLand Ltd. (CAPL) , Southeast Asia's biggest developer by sales, slipped 24 cents, or 7.4 percent, to S$3, snapping a four-day gain. It's looking into the ``possibility'' of selling four industrial properties in Singapore, CapitaLand said. The company has ``no definitive plan'' to sell those assets, it said after a report in the Business Times yesterday.
Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. (NOL)(NOL SP), Southeast Asia's largest container line, lost 4 cents, or 3.1 percent, to S$1.25 after saying it moved 186,500 cargo-boxes in the four weeks ended Oct. 17. That's 1 percent less than a year earlier and the first decline in traffic in almost three years. Citigroup Inc. also cut its share-price estimate today to S$1.10 from S$2.70, citing the ``challenging'' outlook for the shipping industry.
Noble Group Ltd. (NOBL)(NOBL SP), a Hong Kong-based commodities supplier that said yesterday third-quarter profit more than doubled, fell 12 Singapore cents, or 11 percent, to 97 cents, the most since Oct. 24. Credit Suisse Group and Cazenove & Co. were among brokerages that lowered their share-price forecasts for Noble today.
Noble's Chief Executive Officer Richard Elman said in an interview today demand for metals and grains will rebound in the next 12 to 18 months. Copper prices fell 0.7 percent today, while corn and soybean prices also retreated.
SembCorp Marine Ltd. (SMM) , the world's second-biggest builder of oil rigs, dropped 16 cents, or 7.7 percent, to S$1.93, ending a two-day, 7.2 percent advance. UBS AG lowered its share-price forecast for SembCorp Marine to S$3 from S$5, saying that the global economic slowdown will weigh on its earnings. The brokerage has a ``buy'' recommendation on its shares.
Singapore Airlines Ltd. (SIA) , the world's largest carrier by market value, lost 52 cents, or 4.4 percent, to S$11.30. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. lowered its share-price estimate by 17 percent to S$11, saying that operating margins will deteriorate amid slowing traffic and yield growth.
Meanwhile, Daiwa Institute of Research also downgraded Singapore Airlines to ``hold'' from ``outperform'' today.
Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (ST) , Southeast Asia's largest phone company, dropped 16 cents, or 6.4 percent, to S$2.35, the biggest drag on the Straits Times Index. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lowered its share-price estimate for Singapore Telecommunications to S$3.20 from S$4. The brokerage also lowered its forecasts for the company's 2009, 2010 and 2011 earnings by as much as 13 percent, citing the outlook for earnings at Singapore Telecommunications' overseas associates.
The company is scheduled to release its quarterly results tomorrow.
Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd. (YZJSGD) , the Chinese shipbuilder, rallied 2 Singapore cents, or 4.6 percent, to 45.5 cents, its highest close since Oct. 6. Third-quarter profit more than doubled from a year earlier to 475.3 million yuan ($69.6 million) after it delivered more vessels, Yangzijiang said.
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