Singapore shares closed 0.52 percent lower on Wednesday, amid caution ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony to the Congress on U.S. monetary policy outlook.
Bernanke is set to testify to Congress on Wednesday and Thursday, which could provide further clarity on when the U.S. central bank will roll back its 85 billion U.S. dollars a month bond-buying program. Investors expected he will reiterate later in the day that U.S. monetary policy is to stay accommodative.
U.S. consumer prices accelerated in June but underlying inflation pressure showed signs of stabilizing, keeping on course expectations that the Federal Reserve will start reducing its bond purchases later this year.
CIMB Research said "we believe that the Straits Times Index may have found its short-term low at 3,065 points," but also added that the current rebound could be close to its terminal point.
SIAS Research said the Straits Times index likely to find resistance at 3,270 points, and support at 3,200 points.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 16.63 points to 3,208.33 points. Trading volume was 3.18 billion shares worth 1.20 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 216 to 199, while 537 stocks did not move.
Singapore Press Holdings shed 0.5 percent to 4.27 Singapore dollars. The media group said it will raise 504 million Singapore dollars in a real estate investment trust offering after pricing the initial public offering at the top end of an indicative range of 85 to 90 Singapore cents per unit. Called SPH REIT, the trust's assets will include a luxury mall in the prime shopping district of Orchard Road and the suburban Mall.
M1 Limited rose 2.6 percent to 3.20 Singapore dollars. The telecom firm's second-quarter net profit rose 11.2 percent to 39.2 million Singapore dollars. It said it expects moderate growth in net profit after tax for the full year based on the current economic outlook.
Interra Resources gained 2.1 percent to 48 Singapore cents. The oil and gas company said its jointly controlled entity, Goldpetrol Joint Operating Company, has completed drilling infill development well YNG 3255 in the Yenangyaung oil field in Myanmar.
Among top gainers, UOB rose 0.8 percent to 21.13 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 1.1 percent to 58.35 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 1. 26 Singapore dollars)