Disappointing Chinese manufacturing data raised concerns over the world's second-largest economy and sent many regional markets heading south yesterday.
The Straits Times Index responded by paring some of Monday's gains to enter the midweek break at 3,400.20, down 6.82 points or 0.2 per cent.
CMC Markets market analyst Margaret Yang noted: "With Tuesday being the last trading day for April, investors might have been enticed to undertake profit-taking in order to lock in gains from the decent four-month rally before we head into May, which is seasonally a bad month for equities."
IG market strategist Pan Jingyi agreed that investors had turned to profit-taking but "the disappointing Chinese data remained the trigger for the market's performance".
Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea closed lower while China and Malaysia posted gains. Markets in Japan remain closed.
Trading clocked in at 911.33 million shares worth $1.26 billion with losers outpacing gainers 239 to 153 while 19 of the STI's 30 components ended in the red. Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded, closing flat at 98.5 cents with 34.9 million shares changing hands.
The banking trio, which gave the benchmark index a lift to hit a 2019 high of 3,407.02 on Monday, all closed lower yesterday. DBS dipped 0.5 per cent to $28.25, a day after posting a 9 per cent increase in first-quarter net profit to $1.65 billion. OCBC dropped 0.2 per cent to $12.10 while United Overseas Bank fell 0.5 per cent to $27.83.
Food and beverage firm ThaiBev continued to trade higher, ending at 84 cents, up 0.6 per cent and ahead 37.7 per cent this year.
Among non-STI counters, Mainboard-listed China Everbright Water slid on heavy volume as the company disclosed that it has priced its Hong Kong public offering at HK$2.99 apiece. On the Singapore Exchange, the counter ended 10.2 per cent lower at 44 cents on 29.9 million shares traded.
Meanwhile, property developer Oxley Holdings advanced 8.3 per cent to 32.5 cents after it inked a deal to sell Chevron House for up to $1.025 billion, 16 months after acquiring the prime office building in Raffles Place for $660 million.
The local market reopens tomorrow with much to contend with.
IG's Ms Pan said: "Investors will be waking up on Thursday to digest the impact of the slew of earnings in the US, including Apple, in addition to the Federal Open Market Committee meeting conclusion (today)."