Normally a bumper jobs report from the United States would have kicked off regional markets but shares remained in the doldrums yesterday with most bourses either closed or open for half a day.
The pre-holiday sentiment left the Straits Times Index (STI) down 4.12 points or 0.1 per cent at 3,184.56 by the midday close.
Turnover came in at 1.36 billion shares worth $484.55 million, with losers pipping gainers 169 to 148.
Penny activity wasn't subdued despite the half-session.
Pine Capital was the most active, closing up 100 per cent at 0.02 cent with 795.1 million shares traded.
The Catalist-listed firm said on Sunday that its chief operating officer stepped down after assuming the position in November last year.
Marine firm Ezion Holdings was another active, losing 3.9 per cent to five cents on trade of 75.1 million.
Ezion said yesterday that it is expecting a fourth-quarter and full-year net loss amid uncertainty on whether its joint ventures can repay shareholder loans.
Food and beverage player ThaiBev was the most active STI stock on the day. It closed 1.3 per cent up at 77 cents on turnover of 20 million. Jardine Cycle & Carriage was the index's big gainer, closing 1.1 per cent higher at $37.94.
It was a mixed day for the banks. DBS gained 0.5 per cent to $24.18, OCBC dropped 0.6 per cent to $11.38 and United Overseas Bank fell 0.3 per cent to $25.25.
CapitaLand-sponsored Reits fared well. CapitaLand Commercial Trust adding 1.1 per cent to $1.89 and CapitaLand Mall Trust put on 1.3 per cent to $2.39.
Seafood restaurant operator No Signboard Holdings resumed trading yesterday. It said on Sunday that chief executive Lim Yong Sim inadvertently instructed its broker, UOB Kay Hian, to buy back company shares during a trading restriction period. The counter's 24 per cent surge on Thursday prompted a query from the Singapore Exchange. The stock shed 14.7 per cent to 12.8 cents yesterday.
Elsewhere, Malaysia markets ended the day flat but Hong Kong markets closed higher. Both markets had half-sessions.
Tencent-backed Maoyan Entertainment fell 1.1 per cent on its Hong Kong debut yesterday, the latest in a number of weak listings by Chinese tech firms.
Japan and Australia had full trading sessions and closed higher. Mainland China and Taiwan markets are closed for a week, while Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia will open on Thursday.