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Singapore shares open flat on Thursday after small gains on Wall Street

SINGAPORE share prices opened flat on Thursday with the Straits Times Index down marginally by 1.72 points or 0.06 per cent to 2,788.82 points as at 9.01 am, after US stocks recovered losses to touch higher on Wednesday - helped by an intraday recovery in oil prices and better-than-expected manufacturing data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added about 2.47 points to end at 17.789.67 on Wednesday.

The Institute for Supply Management in the US on Wednesday said that its index of manufacturing activity rose to a higher-than-expected 51.3 in May. A reading above 50 indicates that factory activity is expanding.

Crude futures spent the day in the red, but ended well off their lows on renewed hopes that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) may consider setting a new oil output ceiling at its meeting scheduled for Thursday.

The WTI index settled down nine US cents, or 0.18 per cent, at US$49.01 on Wednesday after earlier falling below US$48.

Some 40.4 million shares worth S$69.6 million changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 59 to 45.