The recent buoyant mood across Asian markets was deflated yesterday as investors cashed out, deciding to wait and see which way the wind blew before the typically quiet year-end.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 9.21 points or 0.31 per cent lower at 2,919.37, snapping an eight-day run-up. Overall market volume was 1.17 billion shares worth $1.18 billion.
For the week, STI was still up 2.1 per cent, its best weekly performance since early September.
Shanghai fell 0.9 per cent and Hong Kong lost 1.37 per cent while Tokyo pared 0.47 per cent.
"The strong run in recent weeks was actually against the trend of a slow year-end, a time when people usually cash out and close their position...There's also a bit of wait-and- see going on before the upcoming (US Federal Reserve) meeting," remisier Alvin Yong said.
The December Fed meeting, widely expected to hike interest rates, starts on Dec 13.
Oil speculators also took some money off the table after Opec's production cut drove up prices. Brent crude futures were down almost 1 per cent to below US$53.40 a barrel by yesterday evening.
Of the 30 STI stocks, 16 fell. Top loser Golden Agri-Resources shed one cent or 2.3 per cent to 42.5 cents on 29.6 million shares traded. Wilmar International fell six cents or 1.65 per cent to $3.58.
With commodity prices rising, the two agricultural firms did well in November; Golden Agri-Resources hit a full-year high and Wilmar was at its highest since May.
Thai Beverage lost 1.5 cents or 1.72 per cent to 85.5 cents on 56.1 million shares traded.
Global Logistic Properties (GLP) led the eight gainers of the day, surging 10 cents or 4.85 per cent to $2.16. This followed news that the company is undertaking a strategic review of business options at the request of its largest shareholder GIC.
That line of narrative often flags impending privatisation. Investors were thrilled at that possibility and the potential boost to share prices.
OCBC analyst Eli Lee, who gave GLP a buy call and a $2.37 fair value, called it a positive move for its long- undervalued shares. And even if nothing comes of it, "we continue to see significant long-term fundamental value in the group's shares at current prices, given its business portfolio and leading positions in its key markets".
Sembcorp Industries added six cents or 2.08 per cent to $2.95 and Keppel Corp put on four cents or 0.68 per cent to $5.93.
Analysts are still mulling over the impact of Opec's move on local offshore marine players. KGI Securities Singapore strategist Nicholas Teo cautioned: "To be clear, crude at US$50-US$60 per barrel may not be high enough to spark a new round of orders for rigs... One should not be misled into believing that rig owners are starting a new campaign of fresh orders."