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Singapore shares edge up at open despite Q2 GDP plunge; STI up 0.3%

SINGAPORE shares opened slightly stronger on Tuesday, despite second-quarter gross domestic product plunging 13.2 per cent in its worst quarter on record.

Meanwhile, forecasts for trade growth have been adjusted for the third time in 2020, with non-oil domestic exports now tipped to grow 3 to 5 per cent this year.

On the Singapore bourse, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) gained 7.55 points or 0.3 per cent to 2,553.06 as at 9.01am.

Gainers outnumbered losers 84 to 48, with 92.3 million securities worth S$107.5 million changing hands.

Among the index securities, the most heavily traded counter by volume was Thai Beverage, which lost one Singapore cent or 1.7 per cent to 59.5 cents, with 12 million shares traded.

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Keppel Corp plunged S$0.61 or 11.3 per cent to S$4.79 on an ex-dividend basis, with 3.2 million shares traded. This comes after state investment firm Temasek Holdings said it is pulling out of its S$4 billion partial offer for Keppel, in a twist that that caught many off-guard.

Banking stocks were up in the morning session while trading on a cum-dividend basis. DBS gained S$0.06 or 0.3 per cent to S$20.66, United Overseas Bank added S$0.02 or 0.1 per cent to S$19.60 and OCBC Bank advanced S$0.06 or 0.7 per cent to S$8.78.

Other active securities included Vicplas International which shot up S$0.05 or 12.8 per cent to S$0.44, while Venture Corp gained S$0.56 or 3 per cent to S$19.40.

Mainboard-listed Venture has declared an interim dividend of S$0.25 per share, up from S$0.20 a year earlier, despite a 28.2 per cent fall in its net profit to S$130.5 million for the six months ended June.

Over in the US, Wall Street ended mixed on Monday as investors eye uncertain data and an elusive deal on further economic stimulus.

At the closing bell, the tech-rich Nasdaq was down 0.4 per cent to 10,968.36, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.3 per cent to end at 27,791.44 and the broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent to finish at 3,360.47.

European shares edged slightly higher on Monday, with the European Stoxx 600 index closing the session up 0.3 per cent. This comes after growth-sensitive cyclical stocks got a boost from improving economic data out of China, though renewed US-China tensions hit technology shares.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened higher on Tuesday tracking Wall Street gains. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.8 per cent, while the broader Topix index rose 0.9 per cent in early trade.

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