Singapore shares closed 0.19 percent lower on Thursday even though the U.S. Congress approved legislation on Wednesday to increase the country's debt limit for a year, avoiding a repeat of a nasty political showdown that led to government shutdown in October.
Investors are now looking ahead to U.S. retail sales and jobless claims due later in the day. On the horizon in Asia is Chinese inflation data, due on Friday, which will follow recent trade figures that showed much better-than-expected export growth.
DBS Group Research said the Straits Times Index should see a mild rebound with immediate resistance noted at 2,980 points and 2, 990 points. The research house added that "we maintain our view that the index had fallen to attractive forward price-earning valuation after touching around 2,950 points yesterday. Downside is limited in the short term."
"We expect prices to see a minor bounce from here or from slightly lower levels around the 2,900 points and 2,940 points levels," CIMB Research said.
The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 5.71 points to close at 2.960.09. Trading volume soared to 1.87 billion shares worth 1.15 billion Singapore dollars (906 million U.S. dollars). Decliners outnumbered advancers 235 to 176, while 530 stocks closed unchanged.
Singapore Telecommunications ended flat at 34.5 Singapore cents. It beat forecasts with a six-percent rise in third-quarter net profit, as strength in its regional affiliates helped overcome the negative impact of a volatile foreign currency market.
The Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator posted a net profit of 872 million Singapore dollars (689 million U.S. dollars) for the three months ended Dec. 31.
Far East Hospitality Trust jumped 8.9 percent to 24.5 Singapore cents. It reported a quarterly gross revenues and net property income (NPI) of 33.6 million Singapore dollars and 30.5 million Singapore dollars respectively, which were 3 percent and 2.4 percent lower than its IPO forecasts.
This is due to softer-than-forecasted market operating conditions in the fourth quarter, it said.
SIA Engineering closed flat at 52.5 Singapore cents. It signed a 350 million Singapore dollars services agreement with SilkAir. The agreement covers a broad spectrum of maintenance, repair and overhaul and fleet management services for SilkAir's new fleet of B737NG aircraft.
Among the top gainers, Keppel Corporation rose 1 percent to close at 10.29 Singapore dollars, while DBS became one of the top losers by falling 0.8 percent to close at 16.17 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar = 1.27 Singapore dollars)