SINGAPORE, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- Singapore shares closed 1.22 percent lower on Monday, as investors take a defensive stance on concerns that the novel coronavirus outbreak was fast spreading, putting global growth at risk.
U.S. markets fell last Friday after the IHS Markit purchasing managers' index (PMI) measuring composite output at factories and service providers fell by 3.7 points to 49.6, the lowest level since October 2013, when the U.S. government shut down. Readings below 50 indicate contraction.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices fell after finance chiefs and central bankers from the world's largest economies said over the weekend they see downside risks to the global economy persisting.
MayBank-Kim Eng Retail Research said "technically, the Straits Times Index has slid below its 20 and 50 day moving averages and appears headed towards next support at 3,144 points, with upside resistance at 3,285 points."
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 38.83 points to 3,142.20 points. Trading volume was 1.8 billion shares worth 1.56 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 384 to 112.
CapitaLand fell 0.81 percent to 3.67 Singapore dollars. It is providing additional support package to help food services and retail companies to ride through the challenges brought on by the outbreak. These will include flexible rental payments and a one-time rental rebate of up to half-a-month for eligible tenants. It will also release one month security deposit to offset rental payments for the month of March to ease cash flows for more than 3,500 stores. These initiatives are on top of the 15 percent property tax rebate granted by the Singapore government under Budget 2020.
Among top gainers, Bukit Sembawang rose 0.22 percent to 4.56 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 1.09 percent to 57.19 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equal to 1.4 Singapore dollars)