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THE selling which has marked the start of 2016 returned on Thursday with a vengeance with the Straits Times Index plunging 51.93 points or 1.9 per cent to 2,644.57.
Offshore and marine stocks (O&M) stocks were heavily sold off as oil prices slipped below the US$30 per barrel mark whilst bank stocks were also not spared.
Because of the battering dished out to blue chips, volume again crossed S$1 billion at 1.3 billion units worth S$1.2 billion of which S$873 million or 73 per cent was done in the 30 STI components. Rounding off yet another miserable session this year was an advance-decline score of 100-327 - more than three falls for each rise.
Wall Street on Wednesday unexpectedly plummeted, the Dow Jones Industrial Average's 2.2 per cent loss taking its fall for 2016 to 7.3 per cent. However, its closing level of 16,151 was only a four-month low, suggesting to some observers that there is more downside to worry about. Market reports said the stocks most hurt were the FANGs - Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.
On Thursday, the Dow futures traded 100 points higher, normally an indication that traders expect the US market to at least open higher later in the day. However, despite this rise, a gain for the Shanghai Composite and only a modest 0.6 per cent loss for the Hang Seng Index, there was no real letup in selling here, particularly in the O&M sector. Keppel Corp collapsed S$0.33 or 6.4 per cent to $4.86, its lowest since April 2009 whilst SembCorp Marine lost S$0.10 or 6.8 per cent at S$1.37 on volume of 7.5 million.