Singapore shares extend falls for 2nd day, real estate stocks down
SINGAPORE, March 20 (Reuters) - Singapore stocks were poised to post their second consecutive day of declines on Thursday, weighed down by real estate stocks, while the broader Asian market wrestled with worries that U.S. interest rate could rise sooner than expected.
The benchmark Straits Times Index declined 0.4 percent to 3067.6 as of 0451 GMT, as MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 1.4 percent.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank might end its bond-buying program this fall, and could start to raise interest rates around six months later.
Global Logistic Properties Ltd was headed for its biggest daily loss in more than five months. The stock declined 2.7 percent to an intra-day low of S$2.57, its lowest in more than nine months, putting it on track to its fourth consecutive day of losses.
CapitaMalls Asia Ltd shed 2.9 percent to a near 17-month low of S$1.67. As of 0520 GMT, 12.68 million shares changed hands, more than twice its average 30-day daily trading volume.
In the broader market, Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust declined 1.8 percent to a five-week low of S$1.615. As of 0456 GMT, 10.3 million units changed hands, more than 1.3 times its average 30-day daily trading volume.
Suntec REIT announced on Tuesday after trading hours that it would issue 216 million to 222 million new units priced between S$1.575 to S$1.615, aimed at raising S$341.3 million to repay the firm's existing debt. Its unit price has since dropped 4.4 percent from S$1.69 on Tuesday's closing.
Brokerage CIMB maintained its "add" rating on Suntec REIT, but decreased its target price to S$1.83 from S$1.96, despite the risk of Distribution-per-Unit (DPU) dilution.
"We believe that the purpose of the placement is to diversify Suntec REIT's sources of funding, while lowering its gearing, before any hike in interest rates," it said in its research note. (Reporting by Brian Leonal; Editing by Anand Basu)
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