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Singapore shares dip 0.1% on Thursday

DIMMING economic outlooks and poor earnings from Wall Street blue chips gave investors little reason for cheer on Thursday.

Among the news items that dragged sentiment were the Bank of Korea's first interest rate cut in three years, and weak results overnight from Nasdaq-listed rail freight company CSX Corp.

FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed highlighted CSX's performance in an afternoon note, saying: "Transportation companies are fast to pick slowdowns in an economy and if we see this trend of disappointing earnings spread into other logistics providers, then it will send a clear warning to investors."

He added that US President Donald Trump's recent remarks about having "a long way to go" in trade negotiations were hardly encouraging either, as monetary policies may soon be insufficient to offset the increasing damage to the global economy.

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The Straits Times Index (STI) dipped slightly on Thursday, down a mere 0.11 per cent or 3.82 points to 3,361.05.

About 1.01 billion securities worth S$1.05 billion changed hands, which worked out to an average unit price of S$1.04. Losers outnumbered gainers 222 to 184, or about six securities down for every five up.

Tee International led active trading with 68 million shares changing hands. It closed up 0.1 Singapore cent or 1 per cent to S$0.101.

Another actively traded counter was precision manufacturer AEM Holdings, which surged by six Singapore cents or 5.77 per cent to S$1.10 on a volume of 27.3 million. CGS-CIMB research analyst William Tng upgraded the stock to "add" from "hold" on Wednesday, saying that FY19 slowdown concerns have been priced in.

He projected strong results for the tech company's Q2 net profit, citing an average net profit sequential growth of 57 per cent in the second quarters of the last two years. Its major customer Intel Corp also appears on track for a product launch in October, which would require AEM to deliver test handlers to Intel in Q2 and Q3.

Other active counters included CapitaLand Commercial Trust and Singtel.