Singapore shares closed 0.05 percent lower on Friday, as trading was muted amid talk that the U. S. Federal Reserve might take a hawkish turn at its policy meeting next week.
There has been unending speculation about the prospects for rising U.S. interest rates in recent days. Figures on U.S. retail sales due later Friday could add to the unease about rates. Economists expect a solid rebound of 0.6 percent in August, up from a disappointingly flat reading in July and fuelled by a boom in auto sales.
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index inched down 1.73 points to 3,345.55 points. Trading volume was 1.1 billion shares worth 788 million Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 233 to 196, while 514 stocks did not move.
Singapore Telecommunications closed flat at 3.90 Singapore dollars. Its wholly-owned subsidiary, Optus, announced that Australia's latest state-of-the-art satellite, Optus 10, was successfully propelled into orbit following lift-off from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana.
Optus launched Australia's first satellite almost 29 years ago. As the only local company to own and operate satellites, Optus is the leading provider of satellite services across Australia and New Zealand.
The Optus 10 satellite expands Optus' satellite fleet capacity and provides an in-orbit redundancy capability. Optus has the largest fleet of geostationary satellites in the region, servicing Australia, New Zealand and the McMurdo Sound in the Antarctic.
Del Monte Pacific shed 0.9 percent to 52.5 Singapore cents. It reported first-quarter net loss for the 3 months ended July of 21. 9 million U.S. dollars, compared with a net profit of 4.15 million U.S. dollars for the year-ago period.
This was due mainly to higher expenses, including expenses linked to the acquisition of Del Monte Foods. But compared with sales of 119 million U.S. dollars last year, its turnover came in at 446 million U.S. dollars, which included Del Monte Foods' sales of 340 million U.S. dollars.
Viva Industrial Trust ended flat at 81 Singapore cents. It said that its trustee would acquire 2 industrial properties for 112.8 million Singapore dollars. Following completion of the acquisitions, the real estate investment trust will increase its investment property base by 16 percent to 841 million Singapore dollars.
Among top gainers, DBS rose 0.8 percent to 18.52 Singapore dollars, while Jardine Matheson became one of the top losers by falling 0.9 percent to 62.03 U.S. dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1.26 Singapore dollars)