Local investors stayed wary yesterday after Wall Street closed lower overnight following a record-breaking effort a day earlier.
The cautious mood was not helped by a decline in business sentiment in Germany and weak data from South Korea that reignited worries about global growth.
It was no surprise that The Straits Times Index (STI) closed down 0.36 per cent or 12.15 points to 3,350.28.
Turnover was 921.01 million shares worth $1.01 billion, with losers outpacing gainers 212 to 171.
"Investors were dealt with another reality check as financial data from Europe remains as sick as ever, this despite a chorus of global central banks' stimuli," said SPI Asset Management managing partner and head of trading Stephen Innes.
Test-handling machine supplier AEM Holdings surged 10.48 per cent to $1.16 and topped active counters with 35.04 million shares traded. The firm said yesterday its sales orders had surpassed those of previous months.
Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit) was also heavily traded, with 27.28 million shares swopped as it fell 2.65 per cent to $1.84. The Reit said yesterday it had placed out 111.11 million new units to raise gross proceeds of about $200 million.
Cosco Shipping International (Singapore) was up 8.7 per cent to 37.5 cents on 23.44 million shares after announcing plans to lease land for a warehouse at Malaysia's Port Klang.
Active index counters included ThaiBev, which retreated 0.6 per cent to 83.5 cents, and telco SingTel, which slipped 0.95 per cent to $3.14.
Genting Singapore closed up 1.05 per cent at 96.5 cents. The casino operator's shares have yet to recover from a plunge of more than 9 per cent on April 4 after news of higher gambling taxes and casino entry levies, as well as its announcement that it will invest $4.5 billion to expand Resorts World Sentosa.
Industry analyst Howard Klein called the market reaction perplexing, adding that Las Vegas Sands' share price had risen after it announced plans to invest $4.5 billion to expand Marina Bay Sands.
Mr Klein said that while the higher levies might deter marginal customers, they are unlikely to be a primary reason for more serious gamblers to reduce their visits.
"Singapore is a healthy jurisdiction, which undoubtedly has provided the justification for raising the tax rate beginning in 2020," he said.
"This is clearly based on the Government's appraisal that the revenue stream will continue to be sustained at its current level at the very least, or probably increase when the $9 billion investment by both operators debuts in five years."