Singapore shares drift down; bank stocks drag

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares edged down on Friday, tracking losses in the broader Asian market, as investors took profits ahead of the weekend and escalating tensions in Ukraine weighed on sentiment.

The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 0.5 per cent to 3,268.53, though it added 0.5 per cent for the week. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.7 per cent.

ComfortDelgro Corp and Sembcorp Marine led the declines, edging down 1.9 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

The losses also extended to banks, with the sector contributing most to the index's decline. Shares of UOB and DBS Group Holdings fell 1 per cent and 0.5 per cent, while OCBC stocks were up 0.1 per cent.

"It's mostly profit-taking ahead of the weekend. We had a pretty strong reaction yesterday, so people are taking money off the table now," said Carey Wong, an analyst at OCBC Investment Research.

Among other stocks, shares of railway operator SMRT Corp added 0.8 per cent at $1.22, after stealing the spotlight on Thursday with a record 21.6 per cent jump. The company said it was unaware of any reason to explain the surge in a statement issued after trading hours.

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