by Tan Shih Ming
SINGAPORE, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Singapore shares closed 0.36 percent lower on Thursday, as rise in Wall Street overnight failed to lift market sentiment here.
U.S. stocks ended higher led by energy stocks following data that showed a smaller-than-expected increase in American oil stockpiles. Shares of petroleum producers and suppliers were strong as oil prices rallied.
Singapore investors turned cautious after two Federal Reserve officials expressed overnight the need for more than three rate hikes this year as the economy progresses toward the targets set for full employment and inflation.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 11.33 points to 3,173.24 points. Trading volume was 3.15 billion shares worth 1.15 billion Singapore dollars. But advancers slightly outnumbered decliners 233 to 230.
Imperium Crown ended flat at 7.3 Singapore cents. It has received letters of intent (LOI) for three of its Japanese properties within its Japanese property portfolio, namely its Green Forest Kuramae, New City Apartments Kuramae and New City Apartments Minowa properties for 41.8 million Singapore dollars. The proposed divestment is in line with the company's strategy to divest its existing Japanese properties and reallocate capital to new projects which the company is currently assessing, including exploring opportunities in Australia and China.
TEE International continued to halt trading on Thursday. Phua Chian Kin, controlling shareholder and group chief executive officer of the engineering and infrastructure company, plans to take the company private. The company said it has been given approval by the Singapore Exchange to extend the trading halt by two days beyond the usual three-day time-frame for the finalization and execution of definitive documentation, and if materialized, is expected to be announced end of this week.
Among the top gainers, Venture Corporation rose 1.8 percent to 11.50 Singapore dollars, whereas Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 2.6 percent to 64.40 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.40 Singapore dollars)