Singapore shares snapped two straight days of gains and closed lower yesterday, with Budget 2021 generally deemed by equity analysts as a relative non-event compared with last year's bonanza.
The key Straits Times Index (STI) finished at 2,920.43 after retreating 14.91 points, or 0.51 per cent.
Key gauges in Japan, South Korea and Australia corrected after a strong run in recent sessions.
Malaysia also closed lower; Hong Kong posted gains.
Markets in mainland China remained closed yesterday for the Chinese New Year holidays.
Overnight on Wall Street, two key equity indexes retreated slightly after traders grabbed the chance to book profits as United States Treasury yields spiked.
Rising yields are being led by inflationary concerns, given the imminent big US fiscal stimulus and global recovery as vaccine roll-outs pick up pace in many countries.
"There are potential signs that stronger inflation could be coming through from the US," said CommSec market analyst James Tao.
On the local bourse, turnover stood at 1.99 billion units worth $1.06 billion. Losses were led by the Jardine stocks, Thai Beverage and Dairy Farm.
Singapore Airlines slipped 0.23 per cent to $4.39. Under the latest Budget, the airline is set to continue to enjoy the benefits of the Government's wage support scheme for another six months.
HRnetGroup outperformed the STI, rising 1.75 per cent to 58 cents.
CGS CIMB Research said the recruitment and staffing firm will likely benefit from the extension of the Jobs Growth Incentive unveiled in Budget 2021, given that the Government is revving up the hiring of 200,000 workers this year.
• Additional information from Reuters