Singapore shares fall 0.74% on Thursday amid Greece jitters

SINGAPORE - Local shares fell into the red on Thursday after two days of gains, slipping 25.4 points, or 0.74 per cent, to close at 3,419.17.

Some 993.2 million shares worth $1.16 billion changed hands.

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust was among the top actives, slipping two cents to 67 cents. The trust has been losing ground since it reported a net loss of HK$18.6 billion (S$3.3 billion) in the fourth quarter compared to a net profit of HK$334.8 million in the same period a year ago.

Other regional bourses were a mixed bag, as investors monitored negotiations in Europe on extending Greece's bailout.

Tokyo gained 1.9 per cent, Hong Kong climbed 0.4 per cent and Shanghai rose 0.5 per cent but South Korea slid 0.2 per cent and New Zealand retreated 0.7 per cent.

"Our sense at the moment is that investors are assuming a deal gets done," Mr Bill Maldonado, Hong Kong-based chief investment officer for Asia Pacific at HSBC Global Asset Management, told Bloomberg TV.

"We can expect to see bonds continue to behave relatively well and equities to continue to do well."

With Greece's current bailout expiring at the end of February, finance ministers met for six hours in Brussels without signing off on any conclusions on the way forward for the region's most-indebted nation.

That leaves open how Greece can avoid running out of cash and avert a possible exit from the 19-nation currency union.