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Singapore shares decline at Thursday's open; STI down 0.86%

SINGAPORE stocks opened weaker on Thursday following news of the government narrowing its full-year GDP growth forecast for 2019 to 0.5 to 1 per cent.

It was also announced that non-oil domestic export (NODX) growth and total trade also continued to fall in the third quarter – prompting the government to trim its total trade and NODX growth forecasts.

The weaker opening also follows overnight losses on Wall Street and Europe amid rising concerns over the US-China trade war.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index headed down 0.86 per cent or 27.89 points to 3,201.89 as at 9.02am.

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Losers outnumbered gainers 77 to 36, after 48.9 million securities worth S$64.0 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings, which rose 1.0 per cent, or one Singapore cent to S$1.03 with four million shares changing hands. Other heavily traded securities included Singtel which held steady at S$3.20 with 2.9 million shares traded, as well as Rex International which rose 1.2 per cent or 0.2 cent to S$0.176 with 2.7 million shares traded.

Banking stocks opened weaker in early morning trade, with DBS losing 1.5 per cent or 40 Singapore cents to S$25.78; UOB fell 1.2 per cent or 32 cents to S$26.07; while OCBC fell 0.9 per cent or 10 cents S$11.02. 

Other active securities include Ascendas Reit, which lost 0.3 per cent or one Singapore cent to S$2.90; and Keppel Corp, which lost 0.7 per cent or five cents to S$6.80. 

City Development Limited fell 0.4 per cent or four Singapore cents to S$10.57; while CapitaLand dropped 0.8 per cent or three cents to S$3.63.

This was following news on Thursday that the real estate heavyweights are looking to jointly redevelop the Liang Court site – which comprises Liang Court mall, midscale hotel Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay and serviced residence Somerset Liang Court Singapore.

CDL Hospitality Trusts (CDLHT) had proposed to sell its entire stake in Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay to the 50:50 CDL-CapitaLand joint venture entities and CDL.

In the US, Wall Street closed weaker for the second straight day on Wednesday amid mounting investor fears over the US-China trade war. It was also following the confirmation that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to cut interest rates again any time soon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and broader S&P 500 both fell 0.4 per cent to end the day at 27,821.09 and 3,108.37, respectively. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq lost 0.5 per cent, closing at 8,526.73.

Shares in Europe were also hit by trade war concerns, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 losing 0.4 per cent, and London's FTSE 100 leading declines among most regional indices trading in the negative region.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks also opened lower on Friday, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index down 0.2 per cent or 55.70 points at 23,092.87 in early trade, while Topix dipped 0.2 per cent or 3.38 points to 1,687.73.