Singapore index edges down; Hongkong Land leads losses

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares edged down on Friday on the back of a muted performance on Wall Street and uninspiring China manufacturing data, while the broader Asian market fared slightly better.

The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 0.4 per cent to 3,252.05, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 per cent.

Hongkong Land Holdings led losses on the index, plunging 4.1 per cent to an intra-day low of US$6.71, its lowest in three weeks.

Record first-quarter earnings on Wednesday from Singapore's three banks were also cited by analysts as a cue for investors to book their profits at the end of the week.

"I guess the market is taking some profits off the table, especially after we've had a pretty good run on Wednesday," said Carey Wong, an analyst at OCBC Investment Research.

Among other stocks, shares of SMRT rose as much as 2.9 per cent after the transport operator reported a rise in its fourth-quarter net profit from a year earlier.

Brokerage UOB said it was reviewing its "sell" rating and target price of $1.06 on the stock following the earnings release, citing possible impending changes to the rail financing and bus operating model that will address the sustainability of its fare business.