Singapore shares closed 0.06 percent lower on Tuesday, as investors remained skeptical over progress in resolving the US budget crisis before the year-end deadline.
US President Barack Obama and top Republican John Boehner met at the White House on Monday, with simple evidence of ongoing communication keeping alive hopes that Washington will be able to resolve the budget crisis.
SIAS Research said "we expect the Straits Times Index to pull back towards the 3,140 points support levels as indicators are in their overbought level. Below that, the next support lies at 3,110 points. On the upside the immediate resistance is pegged at 3,170 points followed by 3,200 points psychological barrier."
Phillip Securities Research said it is still too early to say whether there will be a pullback in the immediacy or a resumption of the uptrend, but after a near relentless six-week rally the market is due for a correction soon.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index inched down 1.91 points to 3,156.79 points. Trading volume was 2.54 billion shares worth 1.37 billion Singapore dollars. Advancers outnumbered decliners 261 to 160, while 534 stocks did not move.
COSCO Corporation rose 1.7 percent to 88.5 Singapore cents. The shipbuilder said a unit has secured a contract worth over 370 million US dollars to build a floating vessel for a European company. Maybank-Kim Eng Research rated Cosco "Sell" with target price of 73 Singapore cents, saying that the new contract likely brings year-to-date wins to about 1.6 billion US dollars, still falls short of Cosco's hopes for 2.0 billion US dollars for the year.
Singapore Airlines rose 0.3 percent to 10.96 Singapore dollars. It carried 1.5 million passengers in November, 9.7 percent higher than a year ago. Its passenger load factor also increased 2.5 percentage points to 77.7 percent last month.
Wilmar International closed flat at 3.14 Singapore dollars. The palm oil firm will sell its 15 percent stake in Fortune Gas Investment Holdings, the natural gas business of Fortune Oil, to China Gas Holdings Limited as part of a proposed deal for Fortune Oil to inject its natural gas business into China Gas for a total of 400 million US dollars.
Among top gainers, United Engineers jumped 5.8 percent to 3.27 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 1.3 percent to 61 US dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.22 Singapore dollars)