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Singapore shares close lower on China slowdown worries

The Straits Times Index on Wednesday was hit by a combination of factors - a 2.2 per cent loss in the Shanghai Composite after news that China's PMI has slumped to a six-year low, a 2.3 per cent fall in Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and perhaps most relevantly, an early 150 points loss for the Dow futures contract that suggested Wall Street on Wednesday would add to its Tuesday loss.

However, a late rebound in the Dow futures helped the STI trim its loss from a maximum of 40 points to 22.73 at 2,845.74. At 5pm, the Dow futures had lost only 15 points.

The weakness here came with turnover of 1.4 billion units worth S$1.2 billion, slightly above the recent daily average of S$1 billion. Excluding warrants, there were 153 rises versus 239 falls throughout.

The STI fell into the red first thing in the morning after news that the flash estimate for China's manufacturing dropped to 47 this month, way below the 50-point threshold and adding to global economic slowdown worries.

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Among the bigger index losers were the banks, though UOB's S$0.07 fall to S$18.97 on volume of 4.2 million made it the sector's best performer.