SINGAPORE, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Singapore shares closed 0.38 percent lower on Friday, as investors' hope that U.S. legislators will strike a deal before the year-end deadline to avoid a fiscal crisis began to fade.
Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said he would keep working on a solution to the "fiscal cliff" while also slamming President Barack Obama's approach to the budget talks.
Thomas Lam, group chief economist at OSK-DMG Research said, " There is some sense that both sides (U.S. White House and Republicans) want some compromise, but it is not clear whether that compromise will arrive this year or the early part of next year. The markets understand that it's the timing of the compromise, not whether there is one."
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy grew at a faster-than-expected 3.1 percent annual rate in the third quarter, while other data on Thursday showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region picked up this month and home resales in November were the best in three years.
SIAS Research said, "The market is trying to find a direction," adding that "with the STI nearing 3,200 points, buyers are getting cautious, preferring to buy on dips instead."
DBS Group Research said Straits Times Index will find " resistance at 3,200 points or the most at 3,250 points. As the index's upward claw continues, watch for a correction should these levels be reached in coming week(s)."
Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index fell 11.96 points to 3,163.56 points. Trading volume was 1.44 billion shares worth 1.18 billion Singapore dollars. Decliners outnumbered advancers 256 to 151, while 547 stocks did not move.
Among top actives, STX OSV Holdings plunged 7.1 percent to 1.30 Singapore dollars. Italian government-owned shipbuilder Fincantieri SpA has agreed to buy 50.75 percent of STX OSV from STX Europe for about 730 million Singapore dollars, or 1.22 Singapore dollars per share.
Global Logistic Properties shed 0.4 percent to 2.75 Singapore dollars. It listed its Japanese real estate investment trust on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It contributed 30 of its Japanese properties to the real estate investment trust, which helped it to raise net cash proceeds of about 1 billion U.S. dollars.
Among top gainers, Jardine Matheson rose 1.2 percent to 61.75 U. S. dollars, while Jardine Cycle and Carriage became one of the top losers by falling 0.3 percent to 48.05 Singapore dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 1.22 Singapore dollars)