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Singapore shares open higher on Wednesday ahead of Fed meeting's minutes

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SINGAPORE share prices opened higher on Wednesday with the Straits Times Index up 5.8 points or 0.19 per cent to 3,055.45 as at 9.11am, despite selloffs in Asian stocks for a fourth day as investors await clues from the US Federal Reserve on the timing of a US interest-rate increase.

Tokyo stocks opened 0.34 per cent lower on Wednesday, tracking falls on Wall Street and another plunge on China's main index. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index dropped 0.1 per cent to 136.83 as at 9.01am in Tokyo, extending a seven-month low.

Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's last meeting are expected to be published on Wednesday, with market expectations for a September rate hike falling to about 48 per cent from around 50 per cent last week, Bloomberg said.

On Wall Street, stocks finished lower on Tuesday following a mixed batch of earnings from retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 33.84 points (0.19 per cent) to 17,511.34. The broad-based Standard & Poor's 500 shed 5.52 (0.26 per cent) to 2,096.92, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 32.35 (0.64 per cent) to 5,059.35.

As has been the case for the past two days, commodity trader Noble Group was among the most active stocks on Singapore Exchange on Wednesday, although its share price was flat. It was the second-most heavily traded counter after offshore contractor Ezra Holdings which was down 3 per cent to S$0.098 at 9.11am.

Some 104.8 million shares worth S$96.1 million changed hands in early trading on Wednesday, with losers outnumbering gainers 104 to 73.