Singapore shares closed 0.42 percent lower on Wednesday, as investors renewed concern over whether U.S. will raise interest rate sooner rather than later.
U.S. housing starts leaped 20.2 percent in April to an annual rate of 1,135,000 units, the best level of new home construction since November 2007. The jump in building permits raised hopes that the economy was regaining strength after stalling the first quarter, but also rekindled fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates soon.
U.S. stocks finished mixed last night in a choppy session following disappointing Walmart earnings and a pullback in many petroleum stocks following a big retreat in oil prices.
The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 14.36 points to close at 3,439.68 points. Trading volume was 1.57 billion shares worth 1.06 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 233 to 175, while 539 stocks closed unchanged.
Noble Group fell 1.4 percent to 84 Singapore cents. It has closed 2.3 billion U.S. dollars of syndicated committed unsecured revolving loan facilities through the participation of 35 banks globally. The company will apply all amounts borrowed under the facility for the refinancing of certain of its existing debt and for its general corporate purposes.
LHN Limited jumped 8.6 percent to 18 Singapore cents. It announced that it has signed separate master leases in Jakarta and Yangon. These leases will be used to expand LHN's GreenHub brand of premium serviced spaces in the region. The Yangon lease will be for a 32 unit Small Office Home Office Serviced Residence in downtown Yangon. The Jakarta lease will be for a 198 workstation Serviced Office with 2 meeting rooms in the heart of the central business district area.
Among the top gainers, Jardine Cycle and Carriage rose 0.7 percent to 40.75 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson dropped 1 percent to 60.30 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.34 Singapore dollars)