The market erased almost all of Tuesday's gains as investors pulled back. The souring mood left The Straits Times Index down 15.35 points, or 0.44 per cent, at 3,467.81 on trade of 1.6 billion shares worth $1.3 billion. Losers outpaced gainers 232 to 173.
Most exchanges, including Japan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Malaysia and India, edged up after tech sector strength lifted Wall Street. Singapore and Indonesia were the only two exceptions.
Some of the biggest losers here were blue chips such as Jardine Cycle & Carriage, down 47 cents to $34.71; DBS Group Holdings, off 30 cents to $28.82; UOB, which lost 24 cents to $28.34; and OCBC, eight cents lower to $12.80.
Energy and offshore and marine counters remain in play, as crude prices went on a ride overnight following reports that the United States had asked the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise supply.
Keppel Corp lost nine cents to $7.62, while energy solutions provider SBI Offshore plunged 1.3 cents, or 13.8 per cent, to 8.1 cents.
Keppel announced on Tuesday that its offshore and marine unit had secured a contract from a joint venture between Keppel Offshore & Marine and Shell Eastern Petroleum to build South-east Asia's first Liquefied Natural Gas bunkering vessel for about $50 million.
SBI Offshore said two weeks ago that it had appointed KordaMentha to undertake an audit of the matters that may have led to an unauthorised write-off of funds from the group's accounts.
Singapore Airlines bucked the trend yesterday, riding on optimism that the reinstatement of its direct flight to New York could help arrest market-share losses to Middle Eastern carriers.
Venture Corp, still riding on investor interest after it disclosed earlier this week that BlackRock had beefed up its stake in the contract manufacturer from 4.85 per cent to 5.22 per cent, was another gainer.
Sunpower Group added four cents, or 8.3 per cent, to 52 cents after UOB Kay Hian initiated coverage on it with a "buy" recommendation and a target price of 77 cents.
Meanwhile, conciliatory remarks from China, offering to buy US$70 billion (S$93 billion) of American goods, appear to have eased some US-China tensions, though with the back-and-forth interactions, investors are growing increasingly desensitised to the situation, making for a lack of reaction, said IG Asia market strategist Pan Jingyi.