Singapore shares fall on profit-taking in blue chips

SINGAPORE - A bout of profit-taking in banking and telecommunications counters erased upside from strong leads from Asia, United States and Europe, sending local shares into negative territory.

The benchmark Straits Times Index shed 4.8 points or 0.14 per cent to 3,340.5. Some 1.46 billion shares valued at $1 billion changed hands.

Blue chip constituent SingTel fell nearly 1 per cent or three cents to $3.89 a share, with 21.9 million shares changing hands. This comes on news that the number of mobile phone lines here dropped to 8.22 million in August, after doubling from 4 million in 2005 to 8.42 million in December last year, according to latest data from Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

Meanwhile, Asian stocks rose as China's unexpected interest-rate cuts stoked optimism in the global economy.

Shanghai jumped 1.9 percent to its highest close since September 2011, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index surged 3.8 percent, the biggest advance in a year. South Korea gained 0.7 percent and Australia jumped 1.1 percent. Taiwan rose 0.3 percent. Japanese markets are closed for a holiday.