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Singapore shares decline at Thursday's open; STI down 0.5%

SINGAPORE stocks opened weaker on Thursday, after the European Central Bank announced a surprise 750 billion euro (S$1.18 trillion) scheme to support the eurozone economy. 

Singapore's Straits Times Index headed down 0.5 per cent or 12.17 points to 2,413.45 as at 9.02am.

Losers outnumbered gainers 104 to 59, after 47.3 million securities worth S$86.4 million changed hands.

The most active counter was Rex International, which rose 1 per cent, or 0.1 Singapore cent to 10.2 Singapore cents with 3.5 million shares changing hands. Other heavily traded securities included Singtel, which fell 0.4 per cent or S$0.01 to S$2.46 with 3.2 million shares traded, as well as Keppel DC Reit which dropped 0.5 per cent or S$0.01 to S$1.85 with 2.7 million shares traded.

Banking stocks rose were mixed in early morning trade. DBS was trading up 0.4 per cent or S$0.07 to S$17.97 on a cum-dividend basis, UOB dropped 0.4 per cent or S$0.08 to S$19.12 on a cum-dividend basis, while OCBC Bank fell 0.5 per cent or S$0.04 to S$8.45 on a cum-dividend basis.

Other active index counters included Keppel Corp which lost 1.2 per cent or S$0.06 to S$5.04 and CapitaLand, which dropped 1.8 per cent or S$0.05 to S$2.78. 

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened more than 2 per cent higher on Thursday after the European Central Bank announced a surprise 750 billion euro scheme to support the economy. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 2.4 per cent to 17,131.25 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was up 2.5 per at 1,301.95.

European shares marked their worst close in nearly seven years on Wednesday, as recent stimulus measures failed to quell the fears of investors seeking to exit equities in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed down 3.9 per cent.

In the US, a 7 per cent drop in the S&P 500, which was at 2,351.90, triggered a 15-minute trading suspension. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 7.8 per cent at 19,576.75, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 6.3 per cent to 6,872.41.