Singapore stocks fell Tuesday as rising geopolitical risks in the Korean peninsula hurt demand for regional equities.
Singapore’s FTSE Straits Times index lost 0.2% to end at 3,174.75. A total of 2.27 billion shares changed hands with turnover of 1.09 billion Singapore dollars (776.04 million U.S. dollars). Decliners outnumbered gainers 272 to 197.
The Nikkei Asia300 index fell 0.6% after North Korea condemned Washington’s positioning of an aircraft carrier off the Korean peninsula. North Korea’s Central News Agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying it is “ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S.” South Korea’s Kospi stock index and the Korean won fell for a sixth day.
“The unusual move has fuelled concerns that further tensions may emerge,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG. “Certainly with the hardening of the stance by the new U.S. leader, the concern could very much be justified.”
The statement from Pyongyang will further unnerve investors, already reeling from the rise in geopolitical risks after the recent U.S. military strikes on Syria.
Among the major losers, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust slipped 2.5% and Golden Agri-Resources declined 1.4%.
Singapore Telecommunications fell 0.3%, weighed by the weakness in the broader market. The telecom major, updating on its February agreement to acquire U.S. based Turn, said the acquisition came to effect on April 10.
Keppel Corp. fell 0.7%, snapping a three-day winning streak. The rig builder said it had entered into a term sheet for the proposed sale of its Rotterdam yard, which it expected to close by the second quarter of this year.
Sembcorp Industries rose 0.3% after winning a bid for a new wind power project worth 19 billion rupees ($300 million) in India.
SPH REIT rose 2% after reporting a 1.7% increase in gross revenue for the fiscal second quarter and a gain of 5.1% in net property income. Dividend per unit of 1.40 cents was little changed year-on-year.
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