Singapore shares fell yesterday for the fourth straight session in another choppy day across Asia.
Much of the current sluggishness has been down to investor caution around the US Federal Reserve meeting, which ended overnight, but analysts do not see signs of optimism emerging any time soon.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed 19.94 points or 0.69 per cent lower at 2,874.72, with 924.1 million shares worth $802.6 million transacted across the whole market in a slow day.
The wait for more clarity from the Fed April meeting is all about deciphering its statement out this morning, IG analyst Bernard Aw said.
Nevertheless, economic and business headwinds persist, he said, adding: "The global growth outlook remains uncertain and I don't expect a lot of upside for Singapore corporate earnings this year."
This was reflected in the latest economic review by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which noted yesterday the growth outlook for Singapore's key trading partners "has weakened discernibly".
Only 10 STI constituent stocks rose. Genting Singapore added 2.5 cents or 3.03 per cent to close at 85 cents, and Thai Beverage rose two cents or 2.74 per cent to 75 cents.
Keppel Corp added one cent or 0.18 per cent to $5.51, as crude oil futures Brent recovered further to above US$46 a barrel - the highest level seen so far this year - on the back of the weaker greenback.
But Sembcorp Marine lost half a cent or 0.3 per cent to $1.67, ahead of its results announcement after market close. SembMarine was one of 18 STI counters that ended in the red. Jardine Cycle & Carriage pared $1.57 or 3.69 per cent to $41. CapitaLand Mall Trust lost six cents or 2.8 per cent to $2.08 as investors took profit on the counter's Tuesday gain, while CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) slid three cents or 2.07 per cent to $1.42.
CCT, however, remains Maybank Kim Eng analysts' preferred office Reit (real estate investment trust) compared with others that have announced their latest results, such as Keppel Reit and Suntec Reit.
"With the strongest balance sheet among its peers, CCT has the most capacity to grow inorganically with low aggregate leverage of just 30 per cent," the broker firm said in a note this week.
Suntec Reit shed 4.5 cents or 2.65 per cent to $1.655, and Keppel Reit lost half a cent or 0.48 per cent to $1.04.
Osim International ended flat at $1.39 with chief executive Ron Sim acquiring control of 83.72 per cent of company shares as at the latest update on Tuesday. His bid to buy out the massage chair retailer now looks to be in the balance as the offer closes tomorrow
Elsewhere, Shanghai shed 0.37 per cent and Hong Kong fell 0.21 per cent. Tokyo lost 0.36 per cent as investors had reason to be cautious with the Bank of Japan starting its April policy meeting yesterday.