Singapore shares closed 0.15 percent lower on Thursday, as investors fretted over the Euro-zone after a weak debt auction in Italy and the potential for a run on Cyprus's banks when they reopen later in the day.
Cyprus imposed restrictions on cash withdrawals and may curb the use of credit cards abroad to keep a rein on money flows after the country agreed to a bailout deal that will wipe out some senior bank bondholders and impose losses on large depositors. Cypriots are expected to besiege lenders on Thursday morning.
The Italian government's cost of borrowing over five years rose to its highest since October at an auction on Wednesday, reflecting investor wariness over a lack of progress in forming a new government and worries about Cyprus's bailout.
Data on Wednesday also showed confidence in the Euro-zone economy fell more than expected in March after four straight months of gains, with other reports pointing to a slump in Italian manufacturing and retail sales and shrinking gross domestic product in France in the final quarter of 2012.
SIAS Research said the mixed reactions on Wall Street overnight are unlikely to offer much inspiration to the local bourse. The research house added that the Straits Times Index may consolidate and could potentially pull back to its 3,270 points immediate support.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index shed 4.93 points to 3, 308.10 points. Trading volume was 2.68 billion shares worth 1.53 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 286 to 178, while 482 stocks did not move.
First Real Estate Investment Trust rose 1.6 percent to 1.25 Singapore dollars. It agreed to buy two hospitals in Indonesia for a total of 190.4 million Singapore dollars.
Keppel Corporation retreated 0.2 percent to 11.20 Singapore dollars. Its subsidiary Keppel FELS has secured contracts from Mexican drilling company Grupo R to build four jackup rigs worth 820 million U.S. dollars.
Nam Cheong Limited jumped 3.9 percent to 26.5 Singapore cents. Nam Cheong International Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nam Cheong, has won contracts worth 72.1 million U.S. dollars for two anchor handling towing supply vessels and four emergency response and rescue vessels.
Among top gainers, Jardine Matheson rose 1.4 percent to 65.10 U. S. dollars, while Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 0.9 percent to 51.13 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.24 Singapore dollars)