THE results of the French and Greek elections, coupled with the poorest jobs data in the US in six months, resulted in the expected selldowns across Asia.
European stocks also started weak after Tokyo's Nikkei fell 2.8 per cent, while the benchmark indices of the Hong Kong and Seoul markets pulled back 2.6 per cent and 1.64 per cent respectively.
In Singapore, the market's benchmark index pulled back some 2 per cent as investors were spooked by macro and political developments offshore. The Straits Times Index ended the session 65.64 points down at 2,924.95 - one of its sharpest single day selldowns in a year.
As is the usual case, the Jardine group stocks - Jardine C&C, Jardine Matheson, and Jardine Strategic - put the greatest pressure on the index.
UOB, which is announcing Q1 results this week, was also sharply down as it lost 80 cents to $18.20. Property stocks fared particularly badly with Keppel Land falling 13 cents to $2.99, while CapitaLand was beaten down 16 cents to $2.78.
All this comes after French voters shoved incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy out of office in favour of Socialist Francois Hollande, making him the first Socialist in 17 years to control Europe's second-biggest economy. Mr Hollande's promise to cut back on austerity programmes in favour of stimulus spending puts him on collision course with his German counterpart Angela Merkel.
Meanwhile, in a move seen to be putting the Greek rescue plan at risk, voters in that country chose anti-bailout parties over more conservative candidates.
All these developments came after US stocks pulled back last Friday following disappointing April payroll numbers. Second-liners here were down, though nowhere as severe as bluechips and bellwether stocks. Traders said that despite the broader macro-concerns, micro-pennies remained in play.
"Punters are darting in and out of these stocks on very high volumes to try to get maximum percentage gains," noted one trader.
Precision machinery specialist JEP was among the most actively traded counters and the biggest percentage gainer as it edged 0.9 cent or 20.9 per cent to 5.2 cents on 175 million units.
Unifiber, which resumed trading after being suspended a week, was the most actively traded counter as it gained 0.7 cent or 13.2 per cent to six cents on a volume of 206 million. Traders said the counter was being played on expectations of an impending reverse takeover by coal-mining interests.
Audio speakers manufacturer Plastoform Holdings was also actively traded as it gained 0.1 cent or 2 per cent to 5.2 cents on 116 million units. The lossmaking company has been on the SGX Watchlist since March 2010, but expects to return to the black this year.
Going forward, analysts said technical readings for the benchmark index were looking increasingly bearish.
OCBC Research noted that the ST Index was in a southwards reversal which could bring it down to its next vital base at 2,900, a key resistance-turned-support.
"On the upside, 3,010 remains the immediate obstacle to overcome, as the subsequent key resistance still lies at 3,030," it noted.
Given the continuing interest in second-liners and micro-pennies, market players have not quite sold in May and gone away.
But if the market continues heading straight south with no signs of a recovery, some may just choose to bail out and wait.