Singapore shares extend falls for second day, real estate stocks down

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore stocks were poised to post their second consecutive day of declines on Thursday, weighed down by real estate stocks, while the broader Asian market wrestled with worries that US interest rates could rise sooner than expected.

The benchmark Straits Times Index declined 0.4 per cent to 3067.6 as of midday, as MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 1.4 per cent.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank might end its bond-buying program this fall, and could start to raise interest rates around six months later.

Global Logistic Properties was headed for its biggest daily loss in more than five months. The stock declined 2.7 per cent to an intra-day low of $2.57, its lowest in more than nine months, putting it on track to its fourth consecutive day of losses.

CapitaMalls Asia shed 2.9 percent to a near 17-month low of S$1.67. As of midday, 12.68 million shares changed hands, more than twice its average 30-day daily trading volume.

In the broader market, Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust declined 1.8 per cent to a five-week low of $1.615. As of midday, 10.3 million units changed hands, more than 1.3 times its average 30-day daily trading volume.

Suntec Reit announced on Tuesday after trading hours that it would issue 216 million to 222 million new units priced between $1.575 to $1.615, aimed at raising $341.3 million to repay the firm's existing debt. Its unit price has since dropped 4.4 per cent from $1.69 on Tuesday's closing.

Brokerage CIMB maintained its "add" rating on Suntec REIT, but decreased its target price to $1.83 from $1.96, despite the risk of Distribution-per-Unit (DPU) dilution.

"We believe that the purpose of the placement is to diversify Suntec Reit's sources of funding, while lowering its gearing, before any hike in interest rates," it said in its research note.

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