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Singapore shares decline at Thursday's open; STI down 0.4% to 3,387.54

SINGAPORE stocks opened lower on Thursday, with the Straits Times Index slipping 0.37 per cent, or 12.66 points to 3,387.54 as at 9.01am.

This comes as Wall Street stocks finished lower overnight, after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged. After raising the key lending rate four times last year, the Fed voted unanimously to keep it in a range of 2.25 to 2.5 per cent.

On the Singapore bourse, losers and gainers were roughly matched, with 73 securities down to 69 up, after about 47.2 million securities worth S$114.6 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Golden Agri-Resources held firm to S$0.29 with 4.6 million shares traded, and Netlink NBN Trust rose 0.6 per cent or 0.5 Singapore cent to S$0.835, with 3.8 million units traded.

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Other active stocks included Venture Corp, which was up 3.1 per cent or S$0.52 to S$17.49.

Meanwhile, the financials opened mixed - DBS fell 1.7 per cent or S$0.48 to S$27.77, UOB slipped 0.2 per cent or five Singapore cents to S$27.78, and OCBC bucked the trend to gain 0.3 per cent or three Singapore cents to S$12.13.

Elsewhere in Asia, China and Japan are on holiday for the rest of the week, and market observers noted that Asia will react to the US FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) on Thursday, taking cues from the US markets' performance on Wednesday. 

"Sentiment could be supported by positive headlines from the US-China trade negotiations. US and China have concluded the latest round of meeting in Beijing on Wednesday, with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He due to travel to Washington next week to continue the negotiations," UOB analysts highlighted in a research note on Thursday morning. 

They added that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin noted that the meeting had been "productive".