Singapore shares closed 0.77 percent lower on Monday as the White House and U.S. lawmakers closed in on the "fiscal cliff" deadline with no deal yet in place.
President Barack Obama and Democratic and Republican lawmakers met Friday as they faced just days to reach a budget deal to avert massive tax increases and spending cuts that could drag the U.S. economy into recession.
Allowing 600 billion U.S. dollars of higher taxes and spending cuts to start in January would prevent U.S. debt spilling beyond a 16.4 trillion U.S. dollars agreed limit. But investors feared the measures could wipe as much as 4 percent off the U.S.'s growth rate.OCBC Investment Research said "the market has seen a very good run in the last week or so. People may be considering locking in some profits."
Phillip Securities Research said "with slightly over 24 hours left, there is little time (before December 31) to iron out the fundamental differences between the Democrats and Republicans. Nonetheless, we are cautiously optimistic that an agreement could still be struck by the end of this year on stop-gap measures with regard to tax extensions and spending issues," adding that "should a fiscal deal - even a more modest one - be hammered by year end, we could still see a strong impulse move up, possibly taking out the 3,200 points psychological level."
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 24.72 points to 3,167.08 points. Trading volume was 1.54 billion shares worth 957. 6 million Singapore dollars (784.9 million U.S. dollars). Decliners outnumbered advancers 216 to 175, while 565 stocks did not move.
Keppel Land dropped 0.5 percent to 4.03 Singapore dollars. It said it has bought a 6.6 hectare site for mixed use development in China's Jiangsu province for 82 million Singapore dollars. The site will be used to develop 1,135 high rise residential apartments and commercial components.
SC Global sank 3.9 percent to 1.825 Singapore dollars. The chairman and chief executive officer of property developer will not be raising his offer of 1.80 Singapore dollars a share to buy the remaining stake in the company he does not own. The offer will close on January 16. SC Global also said that it was not in any discussions to merge with its second-largest shareholder Wheelock Properties (Singapore) Limited.
Among top gainers, Ramba soared 55.8 percent to 60 Singapore cents, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 2.5 percent to 62 US dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1. 22 Singapore dollars)