STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares fall for 5th day; consumer stocks lead

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 21, 2013 03:20 hrs

Singapore shares were headed for their fifth straight session of decline, the longest losing stretch in nine months, led by falls in consumer sector stocks as the region's economies are roiled by worries about a withdrawal of the U.S. monetary stimulus.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell as much as half a percent to a nearly two-month low of 3,113.96, in tandem with regional shares that dropped nearly half a percent as measured by MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan.

Consumer goods stocks led the losses with a 1.2 percent decline, followed by healthcare plays that fell 1 percent.

"The favourable cost environment is also likely to reverse in light of rising fuel costs and inflation concerns, which pose potential challenges to operating margins and hinder the ability of companies to pass on price increases to consumers," said OCBC analysts in a note.

Inflation and economic uncertainty will continue to cap sentiment in Singapore's retail sector, while regional retail outlook has turned bearish in challenging economic environment, they said.

Weakening regional currencies could also add to the pressure on consumer companies in the coming months, OCBC said.

In other stocks, Albedo Ltd shares shot up 22 percent after the steel and raw materials trader announced its plan to buy land in Malaysia's Iskandar Development Region from Temasya Cergas Sdn Bhd, which may result in a potential reverse takeover by Temasya.

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