Singapore shares closed 0.37 percent lower on Thursday, after a preliminary gauge of latest China's manufacturing activity data showed a mild weakening of growth momentum in November.
The HSBC preliminary Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slipped to 50.4 in November from 50.9 in October.
Nomura Research said the HSBC China flash manufacturing PMI in November is weaker than expected and the official PMI may also moderate to 51.2 in November from 51.4 in October. The research house added the HSBC manufacturing PMI indicates that China's economic growth has peaked in the third quarter at 7.8 percent on year and will resume a downtrend in the coming quarters.
Meanwhile, the minutes of the last-month meeting revealed that the U.S. Federal Reserve officials still expect to start reducing its stimulus in "coming months", although they also stressed that short-term interest rates will remain low for a long-time after it ends the 85 billion U.S. dollar-a-month bond-buying program.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 11.85 points to 3,172.38 points. Trading volume was 1.44 billion shares worth 948 million Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 271 to 136, while 550 stocks did not move.
Keppel Corporation closed flat at 11.11 Singapore dollars. Its subsidiary Keppel FELS Limited has secured a contract to build a repeat KFELS Super A Class harsh environment jack-up rig from a subsidiary of Ensco plc for around 265 million U.S. dollars scheduled for delivery in second quarter of 2016.
Rex International Holding rose 0.8 percent to 61.5 Singapore cents. It has received the green light with Lime Petroleum Norway to acquire 10 percent stakes in two offshore licenses in Norway from North Energy ASA.
Yoma Strategic Holdings rose 2.1 percent to 74.5 Singapore cents. It is releasing 433 new apartment units at its Star City residential development. The development is situated on a 135-acre site in Thanlyin Township in Yangon. The residential units are available to the public for purchase on Nov. 23.
Among top gainers, Petra Food rose 1.8 percent to 3.32 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 0.9 percent to 53.04 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.25 Singapore dollars)