STI slumps 0.45% on profit-taking and Europe jitters

SINGAPORE shares fell on Thursday with traders taking more of their recent profits off the table.

The selling was blamed on jitters ahead of a European Central Bank (ECB) press conference to be held after the close of Asian markets, with investors wondering what would be discussed.

The result that the Straits Times Index (STI) fell 14.76 points or 0.45 per cent, to 3,261.77.

"(It is) 'risk-off' today with investors taking their lead from Europe's overnight session," said Dr Adrian Foster, Rabobank's Asia-Pacific head of financial markets research.

"Most bourses are lower but by less than 1 per cent. They're being driven by Europe rather than setting a more aggressive downbeat tone than that inherited from the overnight session."

ABN Amro said in a note that financial markets were cautious in the run-up to the ECB press conference.

"It is clear that (ECB president Mario Draghi's) words have the potential to be a big mover of financial markets," ABN Amro added. "The markets have moved ahead of themselves in pricing in the possibility of a rate hike within the next 12 months and this has partly been responsible for a rather sharp rise in the trade-weighted euro."

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