Singapore shares closed 0.15 percent lower on Friday as investors shrugged off solid corporate earnings, especially in the United States, and reassurance from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke over the U.S. central bank's easy monetary policy.
Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday it was too soon to judge if recent "mixed" signals from the U.S. economy would prompt the central bank to delay plans to trim its bond buying this year.
The Phillip Securities Research said while the Straits Times Index was relatively muted as trading activities remained slow since the start of July, the index is expected to outperform year- on-year on gradual economic recoveries, amid some volatility.
SIAS Research forecast the Straits Times Index could hold onto the 3,200 points level, but if it falls below that, there may be more selling.
The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 4.94 points to close 3, 213.26 points. Trading volume was 2.34 billion shares worth 1.07 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 236 to 182, while 535 stocks closed unchanged.
Among top actives, KrisEnergy Limited closed at 1.155 Singapore dollars. The oil and gas explorer, backed by Keppel Corporation and private equity firm First Reserve, rose above the initial public offering price of 1.10 Singapore dollars in their trading debut on the Singapore Exchange. The company sold 151.99 million shares and an additional 94.16 million shares to cornerstone investors, raising gross proceeds of 270.8 million Singapore dollars.
Keppel Corporation fell 1.4 percent to 10.75 Singapore dollars. The company reported a net profit of 346.8 million Singapore dollars for the three months ended June, down 33 percent from 520. 9 million Singapore dollars a year earlier.
CNA Group soared 97.1 percent to 27 Singapore cents. The company which has businesses in IT solutions, water treatment and infrastructure proposed placement of 60 million new shares at 12. 08 Singapore cents each.
CapitaMall Trust gained 1 percent to 2.02 Singapore dollars. It said on Friday second-quarter distributable income rose 10.2 percent from a year ago, helped by strong tenants' sales and increased shoppers' traffic.
Among the top gainers, Jardine Strategic rose 0.2 percent to 35. 29 U.S. dollars, while City Development became one of top losers by falling 1 percent to 10.71 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.27 Singapore dollars)