Singapore shares closed 0.5 percent lower on Friday, as fears of an escalating Ukraine crisis offset the positive impact of upbeat U.S. economic data and robust U.S. technology shares.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that time was running out for Russia to change its course in Ukraine. Ukrainian forces killed up to five pro-Russia protesters on Thursday and Russia conducted army drills near the border.
The latest development in Ukraine came amid reports that U.S. durable goods orders rose more than expected in March and a measure of U.S. business capital spending plans also surged.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index dropped 16.36 points to 3,267.57 points. Trading volume was 2 billion shares worth 1.26 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 269 to 165, while 510 stocks did not move.
Voyage Research said "we revise our expectations upwards for the Straits Times Index to end at the 3,270 points level and we maintain our forecast of upward resistance at the 3,300 points level."
Metech International closed flat at 8.3 Singapore cents. It proposed placement of up to 160 million new shares at an issue price of 1.44 Singapore cents per share. The placement price represents a discount of approximately 10 percent to the last weighted average price. The net proceeds of about 2.3 million Singapore dollars will be used to expand its business operations in the United States and Asia and for working capital purposes.
CapitaRetail China Trust ended flat at 1.505 Singapore dollars. It reported that its distribution per unit for the first quarter of 2014 was 2.40 cents, an increase of 3.9 percent from a year ago. Distributable income rose 13.2 percent from a year ago to 19.6 million Singapore dollars, underpinned by a 25 percent growth in net property income and contributions from newly acquired CapitaMall Grand Canyon.
Among top gainers, Jardine Cycle and Carriage rose 0.1 percent to 49.01 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Strategic became one of the top losers by falling 0.6 percent to 35.99 U.S. dollars. (1 U. S. dollar equals to 1.26 Singapore dollars)