Singapore shares closed 0.3 percent lower on Monday after U.S. markets fell Friday due to disappointing U.S. wage growth data.
U.S. labor costs in the second quarter recorded their smallest increase in 33 years, dampening prospects for interest rate hike as early as next month by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Meanwhile, China stocks continued to drop on Monday as the Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers' index, a gauge of nationwide manufacturing activity, fell to a two-year low of 47.8 in July, compared with 49.4 in June. Most investors now anticipated further policy support given sluggish economic outlook, and also expected stronger action from Beijing if the Shanghai market slides below 3,500 points this week.
DBS Group Research said "Straits Times Index's decline below 3, 300 points to 3,200 points last week was ahead of our expectation for weakness in August. The funds outflow can be contributed to macro uncertainties and a lackluster earnings season."
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 9.71 points to 3, 192.79 points. Trading volume was 1.48 billion shares worth 1.14 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 350 to 137, while 448 stocks did not move.
Noble Group Limited rose 3.3 percent to 47 Singapore cents. The Asia's biggest commodity trader said it has been approached by a number of parties about potential financing and investment options, and refuted rumors that it would not be able to fund a 735 million U.S. dollar bond redemption due this week.
It has also rejected the claims and commissioned a report by auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers to review its accounting practices in an attempt to soothe investor concerns. Investor confidence on Noble had been shaken this year after Iceberg Research accused Noble in mid-February of inflating its assets by billions of U.S. dollars.
CapitaLand Limited rose 0.6 percent to 3.24 Singapore dollars. Its serviced residence business, The Ascott Limited, will form a 40 million U.S. dollar joint venture with Tujia, a Chinese vacation rental company, to operate serviced apartments in China. CapitaLand aims to add 6,000 new serviced apartment units in China by 2020, up from the 14,000 it owns there now.
Among top gainers, Jardine Cycle and Carriage rose 1.6 percent to 30.02 Singapore dollars, while Singapore Airlines became one of the top losers by falling 2.7 percent to 10.45 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.38 Singapore dollars)