Trader works at DBS Group headquarters in Singapore. Reuters

Singapore stocks fell for a fifth session on Thursday, as trading in Asia turned cautious following weak closing on Wall Street overnight.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.1 percent in early trade.

Wall Street had been weighed by a retreat in the S&P 500 energy sector, which suffered a four-day decline of 4 percent, its weakest such period in 14 months.

Stocks have made little headway this month as scant progress on U.S. tax reform and record high levels for many markets restrict appetite for risk-taking investments.

The Straits Times Index dipped 0.82 percent or 27 points to 3,341. It ended 0.89 percent lower on Wednesday, taking the year-to-date performance to about 17 percent.

United Overseas Bank lost 0.7 percent, Oversea-Chinese Bank declined 0.9 percent while DBS Group Holdings dropped 1.1 percent.

Telecom stocks fell: StarHub was down 1.8 percent, Singapore Telecommunications dropped 0.8 percent while M1 lost 1.1 percent.

Darco Water Technologies lost 6.9 percent after the company said its controlling shareholder Robert Stone will raise his stake in the water treatment specialist to 18.1 percent via share placement.

But Noble Group extended previous day's gains and was up 5.5 percent after the commodity trader said it was in preliminary talks with "various stakeholders" to address the its deteriorating financial position.

About 1.8 billion shares worth S$1.3 billion changed hands, with losers outnumbering gainers 259 to 188.