Singapore shares closed 0.6 percent lower on Monday, hit by weakness in the U.S. jobs report that triggered plunge in U.S. stocks last Friday.
U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 192,000, which is lower than market expectation of 200,000, while upward revisions over the prior two months totaled 37,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, while hours worked rebounded and another soft reading on wages was benign for inflation. Meanwhile, investors were also reluctant to enter market as China's financial markets are closed for a public holiday.
The benchmark Straits Times Index shed 19.13 points to close at 3,193.59 points. Trading volume was 1.69 billion shares worth 953 million Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 317 to 126, while 501 stocks closed unchanged.
DBS Group Research said "we maintain our view that Straits Times Index's current rally will lose momentum around the 3,250 points level this month." It added "we see the transiting from the recent 'rally mode' to a choppy sideways trend from around 3,165 points to around 3,228 points over the next 2 weeks as investors await the start of the first-quarter results season."
CIMB Research said "moving above 3,223 points would a good start as it would eliminate the bearish leading diagonal from the 3,464 points high."
Ezion Holdings dropped 1.4 percent to 2.11 Singapore dollars, while JK Tech Holdings soared 243.3 percent to 51.5 Singapore cents. Ezion announced that it is proposing to acquire a 29.81 percent stake in JK Tech Holdings. Ezion has proposed to subscribe 42 million new shares in JK Tech at an issue price of 9 Singapore cents per share. In addition, Ezion also has the options to acquire additional 260 million shares at the same price, which may lift Ezion's shareholding to 64.82 percent. The consideration of 3. 78 million Singapore dollars will be satisfied by the issuance of 1.8 million new shares in Ezion at an issue price of 2.0445 Singapore dollars per Ezion Share.
XMH Holdings closed flat to 31.5 Singapore cents. It announced that it has secured two new contracts worth 3.6 million U.S. dollars. The first contract is for more than 24 units of Mitsubishi marine engines, with the group expecting another 10 units to be secured in the next two months. The group also secured another contract for a low speed Akasaka main engine contract, also under Mitsubishi's licensing.
Among the top gainers, Hotel Properties Limited rose 3 percent to 2.99 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 1.4 percent to 47.10 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.26 Singapore dollars).