Singapore shares weaken on slower manufacturing activity

Workers at Add-Plus, an electronics manufacturing company that makes printed circuit boards. Singapore shares eased on Wednesday after a survey showing the city-state's manufacturing activity grew in May but at a slower pace than in the previous mont
Workers at Add-Plus, an electronics manufacturing company that makes printed circuit boards. Singapore shares eased on Wednesday after a survey showing the city-state's manufacturing activity grew in May but at a slower pace than in the previous month, took a toll on investor appetite, while commodities and property stocks declined on profit booking. -- BT PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares eased on Wednesday after a survey showing the city-state's manufacturing activity grew in May but at a slower pace than in the previous month, took a toll on investor appetite, while commodities and property stocks declined on profit booking.

The Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management's Purchasing Managers' index (PMI) fell to 50.8 from April's 51.1. The previous month's figure was the highest since October.

"The market has been trading sideways for a while, with not many fresh catalysts," said OCBC investment analyst Carey Wong.

"Manufacturing numbers aren't very strong either."

The benchmark Straits Times Index slipped 0.5 per cent to 3,280.35. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.3 per cent.

The Singapore index was also weighed down by losses in real estate and diversified industrials stocks, with both sectors declining 0.15 per cent and 0.18 per cent respectively.

Frasers Centrepoint fell as much as 4.2 per cent after the real estate company made a surprise A$2.6 billion cash takeover bid for Australia's Australand Property Group.

Australand shares, however, soared as much as 7 per cent to their six-year high after the deal was announced.

Ascendas Reit, the newest entrant to the index, was the top traded stock on the Singapore index by value. The stock fell as much as 3.3 per cent, extending losses into a fourth day.