There wasn’t much for local traders to go on yesterday although some late-session profit-taking kicked a bit of life into proceedings.
It also helped send the Straits Times Index (STI) down 11.23 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 3,222.84.
CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang suggested that investors may be waiting for fresh catalysts from a possible United States-China trade deal and US non-farm job numbers tomorrow.
Australia, mainland China and Hong Kong ended higher with Shanghai shares continuing to feed off Beijing’s move to pursue more stimulus to support the cooling Chinese economy. It added 1.6 per cent to its highest close in nine months.
Australia’s mining stocks rose, driven by China’s fiscal measures and talk that the Reserve Bank would cut interest rates. The ASX 200 added 0.75 per cent to end at a six-month peak.
Japan and South Korea closed lower on reports that North Korea restored part of a missile launch site, which had drawn the ire of the US a week after the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi ended abruptly.
FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga noted: “With a high degree of optimism over trade talks already baked into the markets, many will be left empty-handed if the final deal fails to mirror the heightened expectations.
“Such a development would impact appetite for riskier assets, punishing equities across the globe.”
Trading here clocked in at a muted 1.14 billion securities worth $977.13 million, with gainers and losers nearly matched at 175 to 180.
Mainboard-listed Nico Steel was the most active with 45.1 million shares traded as it rose 20 per cent to 0.6 cent. The firm said yesterday it had registered a trademark in China for aluminium alloy materials.
Casino operator Genting Singapore was the STI’s most traded, ending 1 per cent down at $1.01 on trade of 37.3 million.
Tech counters largely slipped on Tuesday but rebounded yesterday. Venture Corp added 2.7 per cent to $19.23, while AEM Holdings gained 4.3 per cent to $1.21 and Hi-P International rose 2.7 per cent to $1.54.
Yesterday’s performance meant that the counters “had simply returned to Monday’s levels awaiting further leads”, said IG market strategist Pan Jingyi.
After market close, Moody’s placed a review of Frasers Centrepoint Trust’s issuer rating to downgrade after it entered agreements to buy a 17.13 per cent stake in PGIM Real Estate AsiaRetail Fund, the largest non-listed retail mall fund in Singapore. The Reit’s units closed down 0.9 per cent to $2.26.