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Singapore shares close marginally lower

SINGAPORE shares closed lower on Thursday against the backdrop of the escalating US-China spat - the markets have been here before with tensions between the two super powers -  and downbeat data.

The Straits Times Index closed marginally lower by 6.60 points or 0.26 per cent to 2,555.34.

Key gauges across the region were also in the red, while Taiwan and South Korea bucked the general downward trend as hopes over re-opening of economies were tempered by geopolitical worries and more ugly trade figures.

This was in stark contract to overnight gains logged by Wall Street’s three key indices, which were led by expectations of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Phillip Futures analyst Samuel Siew said: “With the war of words between the two sides (US and China) unlikely to subside anytime soon, eyes will be towards whether the current tensions will escalate beyond trade and should they (do so), there will be more downside pressure for global indices."

Japan and South Korea released disheartening exports data as the pandemic continued to wipe out outputs and orders amid widespread shutdowns.

On the homefront, a total of 1.48 billion shares worth S$1.09 billion were done. Among the STI’s constituents, losers outpaced gainers with 16 counters down and 10 counters up.

The index’s big losers included HongKong Land Holdings, which fell nine US cents or 2.3 per cent to US$3.78, while Wilmar International slipped six Singapore cents or 1.6 per cent to S$3.81.

Geo Energy Resources lost 0.3 Singapore cent or 2.13 per cent to 13.8 Singapore cents. The coal miner launched a consent solicitation and tender offer for its notes coming due in 2022, as the falling crude oil prices led by the pandemic has hurt coal demand outlook, exacerbating the company’s challenges.

Oceanus Group was day’s most active counter, with 105 million shares worth S$393,000 traded. The stock jumped 0.3 Singapore cent to 0.5 Singapore cent after the abalone producer said its strategic partnership with Season Hong International Trading, a leading distributor of FMCG products in China and South-east Asia, has drawn S$13.7 million in confirmed customer orders and a S$7 million revenue within the first 60 days of operations.

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