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Singapore stocks close sharply lower as market plays catch-up with global peers

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THE Singapore stock market, which had been closed on Monday for Hari Raya Haji, on Tuesday played catch-up with the rest of the world's equity market when the Straits Times Index (STI) plunged 54.95 points or 1.9 per cent to 2,818.38.

The broad market also sagged badly, managing only 93 rises versus 323 falls excluding warrants and turnover amounted to a heavy 1.3 billion units worth S$1.4 billion. Of this, S$1.07 billion or about 76 per cent was done in the 30 STI components.

Global stocks had been sold off sharply on Monday in response to Wall Street's large Friday blowout that reportedly came because of worries that US interest rates might be raised sooner rather than later.

Those worries emerged after comments by a US Federal Reserve official but appeared to subside after dovish comments by another Fed official on Monday led to a Wall Street rebound. However, any hopes that the local market would be spared on Tuesday were dashed when the Dow futures plunged 80 points in afternoon trading. At 5pm, it had lost 120 points, suggesting the US market would be in for a rough Tuesday.

The STI was dragged lower by selling of the banks, Singtel, Thai Beverage and Genting Singapore. Commodities firm Noble Group was the day's most active stock when it slipped S$0.007 to S$0.136 on volume of 207.4 million.