WEAK Japanese export figures sent shares down across the region yesterday - not that traders were in a buying mood anyway.
The effect in Singapore was a 16.3-point fall in the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI), which closed at 3,049.47.
Elsewhere in the region, Hong Kong's market fell 1.06 per cent, and the Nikkei 225 Index in Tokyo was behind by 0.27 per cent.
While the Japanese figures were blamed, the larger sense was that traders were looking for fresh cues before they drive the market up further.
Even after yesterday's decline, the STI has risen about 13 per cent since its recent low in June.
"Equity markets are down around the region," said Dr Adrian Foster, Rabobank's Asia-Pacific head of financial markets research.
"Markets weren't helped by a weak reading on Japan's trade accounts."
The STI was dragged down by SingTel, off four cents to $3.31; OCBC Bank, down 10 cents to $9.30; and DBS Group Holdings, which shed 14 cents to $14.58.
Property and retail group Wing Tai Holdings gained five cents, or 3.5 per cent, to $1.465. After markets closed on Tuesday, the company announced a 16 per cent year-on-year slide in net profit to $140.54 million for the fourth quarter ended June 30. But revenue rose 88 per cent to $202.22 million.
A Macquarie Equities Research note on Wing Tai said the stock is "cheap but lacking catalysts".
Noting the counter's discount to book value, Macquarie said that while this is attractive, "investors need to see more signs of a sustained recovery in the high-end residential segment before making an investment decision".
Macquarie has an "outperform" call on Wing Tai with a target price of $1.75.
DMG & Partners Securities released a note detailing its 12-month STI target of 3,168 points, marginally higher than its previous target of 3,162.
"However, we see greater STI volatility before this target is reached. Sectors that should outperform are commodity plays, consumer, offshore and marine and real estate investment trusts," it said.
DMG said it is "neutral" on banks, telcos and land transport companies. It did say it likes some stocks within these sectors, citing United Overseas Bank (UOB) for its stronger balance sheet strength, and ComfortDelGro for its better cost management and overseas growth.
UOB rose nine cents to $19.98 while transport operator ComfortDelGro fell three cents to $1.66.