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Singapore shares dip tracking Wall Street retreat; STI down 0.6% at open

SINGAPORE stocks began trading in negative territory on Friday, tracking Wall Street losses overnight as worries over a rise in Covid-19 cases in the US took the shine off optimism over a potential vaccine.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) retreated 16.3 points or 0.6 per cent to 2,695.60 as at 9.02am.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 74 to 52, after 87.6 million securities worth S$64.2 million changed hands.

Among the index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Thai Beverage which fell 0.5 Singapore cent or 0.7 per cent to 67 cents, with 2.5 million shares traded.

Singtel gained S$0.01 or 0.5 per cent to S$2.24, with 1.9 million shares traded. This comes after the mainboard-listed telco on Thursday posted a net profit of S$466.1 million for the six months ended Sept 30, reversing a net loss of S$127 million a year ago.

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The trio of local lenders were down in early trade. DBS shed S$0.23 or 1 per cent to S$23.74, UOB lost S$0.12 or 0.6 per cent to S$21.48, while OCBC slipped S$0.06 or 0.6 per cent to S$9.57.

Other active stocks included Singapore Airlines which dropped S$0.10 or 2.5 per cent to S$3.84. The flag carrier on Friday said its new S$850 million five-year convertible bonds will carry a coupon of 1.625 per cent per annum and be issued at par, after garnering strong investor interest.

Meanwhile, medical products supplier Medtecs International gained 3.5 Singapore cents or 4.5 per cent to 81 cents.

Over in the US, renewed coronavirus fears sent Wall Street lower on Thursday, overshadowing the optimism from news early in the week about a potential vaccine.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.1 per cent to finish the session at 29,080.17. The broader S&P 500 fell 1 per cent to 3,537.01, while the tech-dominated Nasdaq dropped 0.7 per cent to 11,709.59, erasing much of the gains posted on Wednesday.

European shares also retreated on Thursday, with London's bluechip FTSE 100 index closing down 0.7 per cent, after rallying more than 7 per cent this week. This comes as slower-than-expected domestic economic growth in September underscored concerns about a faltering recovery from the coronavirus-driven recession.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Friday after rising for eight consecutive days. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.4 per cent or 103.74 points to 25,417.41 in early trade, while the broader Topix index lost 0.6 per cent or 10.42 points to 1,715.81.

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