Local shares dipped for the fourth straight session yesterday ahead of a key United States jobs report today.
The benchmark Straits Times Index slipped 9.07 points or 0.3 per cent to 3,388.14. The other major Asian bourses were mixed - Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.3 per cent while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.5 per cent and Shanghai's Composite Index lost 0.7 per cent.
Overnight, United States indices stabilised, after some volatile days lately, which kept intra-day changes moderate. "One would also note the receding volume on the S&P 500 index as an indication that traders are stepping away to the side lines after locking in some profit," said IG Markets strategist Jingyi Pan.
Markets have shrugged off the decision by US President Donald Trump to move the US embassy to Jerusalem despite warnings that it could lead to new regional turmoil.
"Despite warnings from Arab and European leaders that the move would have dangerous consequences, financial markets seem to have ignored the risks for now," said FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed.
In yet another bullish note on next year's outlook, this time by Goldman Sachs, equity markets are expected to be carried to new highs by the global economy.
But there are headwinds - the US economy could overheat, tighter financial conditions may slow the European recovery and Chinese growth stimulus seems likely to moderate following the Party Congress. Geopolitical risks related to North Korea or US trade relations could flare up at any time, it added.
As for Singapore, Nomura Research raised its 2018 growth forecast to 2.2 per cent from 1.9 per cent on the back of expectations that the economy should benefit from improving global growth. But it noted that this is a notable slowdown from 3.2 per cent this year.
Turnover here came in at 1.6 billion shares worth $1.1 billion yesterday, as losers beat gainers 246 to 159.
ComfortDelGro fell five cents or 2.5 per cent to $1.94. The stock has lost about 11 per cent since announcing that it was in talks with Uber Technologies in August. Bloomberg said that was due to investors losing patience over the lack of details.
Banks continued to lead the losses with OCBC down one cent or 0.09 per cent to $12.12, while UOB slipped 17 cents or 0.7 per cent to $25.63 and DBS was unchanged at $24.24.
Sembcorp Marine lost one cent or 0.5 per cent to $1.87. It said on Wednesday it had bagged a US$490 million (S$660 million) contract.