Singapore shares closed 0.09 percent lower on Friday, as a regional Federal Reserve chief said the U.S. central bank may begin to taper its asset buying this summer.
San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said on Thursday the Fed could begin easing its monetary stimulus this summer and end bond buying late this year.
Although Williams does not have a vote in the Federal Reserve's policy-setting panel this year, his comments weighed on U.S. market performance overnight. A trio of hawkish regional Federal Reserve officials had also called for the U.S. central bank to stop buying mortgage-backed bonds, citing a recent improvement in the housing market.
The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 2.98 points to close 3, 449.3 points. Trading volume was 2.89 billion shares worth 1.11 billion Singapore dollars. Advancers outnumbered decliners 240 to 218, while 490 stocks closed unchanged.
Singapore Airlines sank 4.5 percent to 10.93 Singapore dollars. The Asia's second-biggest airline, reported a net profit of 68.3 million Singapore dollars in the fourth quarter, against a net loss of 38.2 million Singapore dollars in the same period last year. Full-year net income rose nearly 13 percent but operating profit fell 20 percent, hurt by high fuel prices and lower yields due to weak global economic conditions.
Intraco Limited rose 1.9 percent to 53.5 Singapore cents. The trading company announced it has teamed up with two parties to establish a joint-venture company in Singapore to carry out a crane leasing and distribution business in Myanmar.
Eu Yan Sang International rose 2 percent to 76 Singapore cents. It has sealed a joint venture deal with a Chengdu-based company to set up a traditional Chinese medicine processed herbs plant in China. The joint venture is expected to improve the group's margins through lower costs of raw materials.
Among the top gainers, STXPO jumped 5.1 percent to 4.10 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 1.3 percent to 45.79 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.25 Singapore dollars)