Singapore shares closed 0.38 percent lower on Monday, after data showed U.S. employers slowed their pace of hiring in July.
U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 162,000 in July, more than 20, 000 below a median market estimate, and a decline in the size of the workforce saw the unemployment rate fall to 7.4 percent, its lowest in more than four years.
The benchmark Straits Times Index declined 12.34 points to close 3,241.79 points. Trading volume was 2.02 billion shares worth 825.9 million Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 278 to 161, while 517 stocks closed unchanged.
DBS Group Research said "light trading activity is likely in this holiday-shortened week that could exaggerate price action even as the second quarter results soldiers on."
Phillip Securities Research said "we expect the Straits Times Index to consolidate at current levels, with key near term support at 3,200 points levels."
CIMB Research said closing below 3,218 points would confirm the larger downtrend. The next leg down is going to send prices to below 3,065 points. Moving above 3,277 points would likely delay the potential large decline by a week or two.
SIAS Research said "we expect the index to retest the high at 3, 270 points with support established at 3,230 points."
Golden Agri-Resources closed flat at 52.5 Singapore cents. It reported on Friday a plunge in its second-quarter net profit, hurt by lower palm oil prices, and said the operating environment in China remains challenging due to intense competition.
UPP Holdings ended unchanged at 35 Singapore cents. It said it has signed an agreement with MSP Tractors Private Limited and Myan Shwe Pyi Tractors Limited for engineering, procurement and construction of a power plant in Yangon, Myanmar. UPP plans to sell its electric generating capacity and power to Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise.
Singapore Post rose 1.1 percent to 1.325 Singapore dollars. It said its first-quarter net profit fell 2 percent from a year earlier to 37.3 million Singapore dollars. Excluding one-off items, underlying net profit was 0.9 percent lower at 36.2 million Singapore dollars.
Among the top gainers, Jardine Matheson rose 0.8 percent to 53 U.S. dollars, while Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 2.3 percent to 40.81 Singapore dollars. (1 U. S. dollar equals to 1.27 Singapore dollars)