Singapore shares ease as concern over China lingers

SINGAPORE, March 12 Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:23am EDT

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SINGAPORE, March 12 (Reuters) - Singapore shares softened on Wednesday, tracking weakness in the regional market on uncertainty surrounding the Chinese economy and political tensions in Ukraine.

The benchmark Straits Times Index fell 0.6 percent to 3112.2 points as of 0429 GMT. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.2 percent.

The Asian market is looking to gain some clarity on China's economic direction with data on industrial output, retail sales, and urban investment due on Thursday.

The worst performer on the index, commodity trader Noble Group Ltd fell 2.7 percent to an intra-day low of S$1.08 in thin volume, retreating from a three-month high of S$1.11 hit on Tuesday.

In other stocks, Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd shares again touched a five-week high of S$0.73 hit in the previous session following the company's announcement of a number of new investments in Myanmar.

Brokerage CIMB upgraded its rating on Yoma to "hold" from "reduce" with a target price of S$0.75.

"While it is still early to assess the impact of these developments on the group's bottom line, we see a clearer roadmap for the group's development into a conglomerate," it said in a research note.

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