Singapore shares ended slightly lower, weighed down by geopolitical tensions after the United States deployed a navy battleship group to the Korean peninsula.
The Straits Times Index slid 0.21 per cent, or 6.7 points, to close at 3,174.75, weighed down by Jardine Matheson Holdings, which fell 1.6 per cent, or US$1.08, to US$65.70, and Keppel Corp, which dipped 0.7 per cent, or five cents, to $6.91.
Commodity plays Golden Agri-Resources and Wilmar International were also a drag. Golden Agri lost 1.4 per cent, or 0.5 cent, to 36.5 cents, while Wilmar shed 0.9 per cent, or three cents, to $3.49.
But City Developments was the most active counter by value, gaining 1.9 per cent, or 20 cents, to $10.47, after the property developer said it saw good sales at its luxury freehold residential development Gramercy Park.
"Economists have revised up Singapore's 2017 gross domestic product forecasts, but we will need to see surprises from the upcoming corporate earnings season to confirm that story," said CMC Markets Singapore market analyst Margaret Yang.
Singapore Press Holdings jumped 1.7 per cent, or six cents, to $3.56, ahead of the release of its second- quarter or half-year results ended Feb 28 today. SPH Reit jumped 2.1 per cent, or two cents, to 99.5 cents, with OCBC Investment Research reiterating a buy call yesterday after the Reit said its second-quarter earnings were in line with expectations.
"Both Paragon and The Clementi Mall achieved 100 per cent committed occupancy. Management has successfully renewed Clementi Mall's leases, which were due to expire this year. In terms of financial position, SPH Reit's gearing remained stable and healthy," said the broker.
Among the most actively traded counters, Spackman Entertainment Group rose 0.6 per cent, or 0.1 cent, to 17.7 cents, with 49 million shares traded, after it issued a positive profit guidance. The group expects to post a net profit for the first quarter versus a loss a year earlier.
Other hotly traded pennies included Artivision Technologies, which fell 8 per cent, or 0.2 cent, to 2.3 cents, with 72.6 million shares traded; and China Medical (International) Group, which was flat at 0.6 cent, with 52.9 million shares traded. Digital safety firm Disa, formerly known as Equation Summit, was flat at 2.8 cents, with 32.1 million shares traded.
China Aviation shares rose 4.9 per cent, or eight cents, to $1.72 on talks that the firm may soon make an announcement on an oil asset. "The company has a sizeable war chest and has mentioned it was looking to make an acquisition," said a dealer.
Rotary Engineering hit an intra- day high of 44 cents after it announced it secured projects in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Thailand worth over US$120 million (S$168.6 million). But investors took profit, sending the stock down 2.4 per cent, or one cent, to 41.5 cents.