Singapore shares closed 0.33 percent lower on Friday, as investors worried about an imminent scaling back in U.S. stimulus, with U.S. payrolls data to be closely watched.
U.S. stock markets suffered from a fifth straight day of loss on Thursday as investors fretted about the risk the Federal Reserve will begin to taper its monthly debt purchases of 85 billion U.S. dollars at its policy meeting on Dec. 17 and 18.
The market median forecast for the payrolls report for November due later Friday is an increase of 180,000 in payrolls with the jobless rate steady at 7.2 percent.
Investors would tend to see anything over 200,000 as greatly adding to the chance of a tapering this month, while a result under 150,000 would diminish the risk.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 10.21 points to 3,114.17 points. Trading volume was 1.48 billion shares worth 945 million Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 218 to 167, while 565 stocks did not move.
CIMB Research said "falling below 3,122 points would likely give the bears a boost to drag prices lower to retest 3,100 points followed by 2,990 points once more."
FJ Benjamin Holdings closed flat at 22 Singapore cents. It signed a franchise agreement with Chalhoub's CGR FZE that will its fashion label, Raoul, to expand its presence to the Middle East. The Chalhoub Group is a leading player in the luxury retail business in the Middle East region.
Rex International rose 1.7 percent to 61.5 Singapore cents. It has signed an agreement with North Energy ASA to acquire a 20 percent stake in a new oil exploration license in Norway. With this new license, Rex will have stakes in seven offshore licenses in Norway.
Cambridge Industrial Trust rose 0.7 percent to 68.5 Singapore cents. It enters into 250 million Singapore dollars interest rate swaps with several banks and reduces its all-in cost of debt to 3. 33 percent from 3.45 percent.
Among top gainers, SembCorp Industries rose 1.7 percent to 5.32 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 1.8 percent to 51.60 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.25 Singapore dollars)