SINGAPORE, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Singapore shares closed 0.6 percent lower on Tuesday, dragged by fall in U.S. markets overnight.
U.S. stocks slipped lower on Monday, as investors continued to seek clarity on the course of U.S. interest rates. Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis President James Bullard on Monday suggested there were more factors in favor of gradually raising U.S. interest rates than there were for holding steady.
Even as Federal Reserve indicated the central bank could raise rates in the coming months, investors remain cautious about the health of the U.S. economy. There will be a few key data closely watched by markets, including U.S. new home sales on Tuesday, jobless claims on Thursday and a reading on consumer sentiment on Friday.
Meanwhile, crude oil futures was little changed after dropping on Monday as Iran vowed to ramp up output and as the number of rigs drilling for crude in the United States held steady after declining for eight straight weeks.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 16.70 points to 2,750.23 points. Trading volume was 966 million shares worth 727 million Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 235 to 120, while 559 stocks did not move.
Xpress Holdings fell 1.3 percent to 76 Singapore cents. The documents management firm reiterated its growth and diversification plans after being queried by Singapore Exchange on unusual price movements in its shares recently.
Xpress said it is in talks to participate as a minority shareholder in a supermarkets operating joint venture in China. However, no agreement has been reached yet.
It added it is also exploring ways to enhance its core business, and planning to raise funds for its expansion.
Sarine Technologies rose 1.3 percent to 1.62 Singapore dollars.
It said its diamond evaluation and grading system was adopted for use by Shanghai-based jewellery retailer Shining House to launch its premium cut diamond -- the octagonal Shining Star. Each Shining Star diamond is sold with Sarine's Light Performance certification and Sarine's Profile digital rendition, offering accurate and interactive visual information.
Among the top gainers, Jardine Strategic rose 0.6 percent to 28.63 U.S. dollars, whereas Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 0.6 percent to 32.10 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.38 Singapore dollars)