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Singapore shares dip at open despite easing of GDP contraction; STI down 0.3%

SINGAPORE shares opened lower on Wednesday despite third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) contraction slowing to 7 per cent.

GDP grew by 7.9 per cent in Q3, on a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted basis, a stark reversal of the 13.2 per cent contraction clocked in Q2. On a year-on-year basis, however, the economy shrank by 7 per cent in Q3 - an improvement from the 13.3 per cent contraction observed in Q2.

Against this backdrop, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) kept monetary policy settings unchanged at its half-yearly review on Wednesday following two straight rounds of easing.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) fell 6.69 points or 0.3 per cent to 2,560.96 as at 9.06am.

Gainers outnumbered losers 63 to 61, after about 58.9 million securities worth S$67.8 million changed hands.

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Among the most heavily traded counters by volume was Singapore Press Holdings, which sank 4.8 per cent or S$0.05 to S$1 after over 11 million shares changed hands. SPH had on Tuesday posted its first net loss, amounting to S$83.7 million for the year ended Aug 31.

Other active counters include Medtecs International, which rose S$0.08 or 5.4 per cent to S$1.56, after over 11 million shares changed hands.

Healthcare plays also saw active trading. QT Vascular and Vicplas International, which rose 33.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent to 0.8 Singapore cent and 35.5 Singapore cents respectively.

The trio of lenders were down in early trade. DBS slipped S$0.24 or 1.1 per cent to S$21.35, UOB declined S$0.10 or 0.5 per cent to S$19.65, while OCBC shed S$0.04 or 0.5 per cent to S$8.71.

US stocks tumbled on Tuesday as earnings season kicked off with mixed results from major companies including airlines and banks, and as fears of a second wave of Covid-19 infections continue to weigh on sentiments. Meanwhile, fiscal stimulus negotiations remain stalled.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.6 per cent to close at 28,679.81, the broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.6 per cent to finish the session at 3,511.93, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 0.1 per cent to 11,863.90.

European shares tumbled on Tuesday on vaccine worries and as bank stocks fell.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.2 per cent or 38.75 points to 23,563.03 in early trade, while the broader Topix index declined 0.4 per cent or 5.74 points to 1,643.36.

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