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Singapore shares drop 0.5% on Brexit worries, global tech concerns

WITH no updates from the US-China trade front, Brexit worries and concerns over the global tech sector after a weak revenue forecast from US semiconductor giant Texas Instruments drove sentiment during Wednesday's session in Asia.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) was not able to build on its positive start to the week, instead closing at 3,144.28, a drop of 16.39 points or 0.5 per cent. Traders also attributed the benchmark's performance to profit-taking after the early-week rally.

It was mixed elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific though most Asian markets faced sell-offs after Tuesday's strong performance. China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea all registered losses. Meanwhile, Australia was flat and Japan managed gains.

The Hang Seng Index was one of the region's worst performing, skidding 219.47 points or 0.8 per cent to 26,566.73.

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In Singapore, trading volume stood at 980.05 million securities, 82 per cent of the daily average in the first nine months of 2019. Meanwhile, total turnover clocked in at S$1.02 billion, 95 per cent of the January-to-September daily average.

Across the market, decliners outpaced gainers 206 to 175. Twenty of the blue-chip index's 30 counters ended in the red.

Much of the chatter in the local market remains on state investor Temasek's partial offer to increase its stake in Keppel Corp to 51 per cent. The conglomerate built on Tuesday's 14.4 per cent surge, adding S$0.05 or 0.8 per cent to S$6.73 on Wednesday.

CGS-CIMB's head of Singapore research Lim Siew Khee believes that Keppel's share price in the near term could stay in the region of S$6.61 to S$7.00.

Proxies to the conglomerate, most notably Sembcorp Industries, which added S$0.05 or 2.2 per cent to S$2.28, and its subsidiary Sembcorp Marine (SembMarine), continued to see considerable trading activity. The latter advanced S$0.05 or 3.7 per cent to finish at S$1.40 on 30.4 million shares traded - among the Singapore bourse's most active counters.

"Judging from trading since Monday, the market is speculating that SembMarine may also be subject to a partial or full offer," one dealer noted.

Along with the regional slide in tech stocks, Venture Corp closed S$0.27 or 1.8 per cent lower at S$15.11.

The local banks were also down. DBS Group Holdings fell S$0.12 or 0.5 per cent to S$24.79, OCBC Bank finished S$0.06 or 0.6 per cent lower at S$10.65 while United Overseas Bank ended the day at S$25.77, a drop of S$0.12 or 0.5 per cent.

Among real estate investment trusts (Reits), CapitaLand Commercial Trust dipped S$0.01 or 0.5 per cent to S$2.04, Suntec Reit dropped S$0.02 or 1.1 per cent to S$1.85 and Frasers Centrepoint Trust edged down S$0.01 or 0.4 per cent to S$2.72.