Singapore shares closed 0.42 percent lower on Thursday, as investors have become wary of the uncertainty over whether highly indebted Spain will seek a bailout to ease its fiscal strains, as well as global growth slowdown which prompted central banks into action.
Investors are waiting for Spain's bond auctions later Thursday. Madrid will seek to raise up to 4.5 billion euro in three-year and 10-year bonds. Meanwhile, Germany's ruling party proposed only limited bank supervisory power for the European Central Bank on Wednesday, highlighting the differences over the speed and shape of oversight reforms and raising worries about the European policymakers' long-term debt-crisis management ability.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 13.02 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 3,062.61. Trading volume was 1.43 billion shares worth 1.19 billion Singapore dollars (0.97 billion U.S. dollars). Decliners outnumbered advancers 301 to 123, while 533 stocks finished unchanged.
Among top actives, Aussino rose 6.7 percent to close at 14.4 Singapore cents. Mynamar tycoon Zaw Zaw told Reuters in an exclusive interview that a planned 70 million Singapore dollars reverse takeover of the bed-linen maker was moving forward. Zaw Zaw said he expects Singapore regulators to complete a review of his books in three to six months, clearing the way for Aussino's transformation into a Myanmar-backed company harnessed to Zaw Zaw' s energy division.
Asia Pacific Breweries inched up 0.02 percent to 53 Singapore dollars. Dutch brewer Heineken NV said it would buy Kindest Place' s 8.6 percent stake in Asia Pacific Breweries for 53.00 Singapore dollars per share - part of its moves to take control of the Tiger beer brand and an Asian brewing network.
Singapore Telecommunications dropped 0.9 percent to close at 3. 31 Singapore dollars. It signed an agreement to acquire 100 percent of photo-sharing app-maker Pixable Incorporated for 26.5 million U.S. dollars. The consideration will be paid in cash. OCBC Investment Research said "Singapore Telecommunications has been acquiring skill sets. They are trying to be more than just a pure- play carrier."
Tiger Airways lost 2.6 percent to close at 74 Singapore cents. OCBC Investment Research downgraded the budget carrier to "hold" from "buy" and cut its target price to 81 Singapore cents from 83 Singapore cents, citing a challenging outlook in Australia. The research house said Tiger Airways faces an influx of capacity from competitors such as Qantas and Virgin, which will impact the prices it can command and its profitability.
Among the top gainers, Great Eastern Holdings inched up 0.5 percent to close at 14.46 Singapore dollars, whereas Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by dropping 0.5 percent to 49 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar = 0.77 euro = 1.23 Singapore dollars)