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Singapore shares fall 0.3% on Thursday after Fed commits to rate cut

ASIAN markets closed mostly lower on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve's unsurprising 25 basis point rate cut.

That said, market performance in Asia was muted compared to Wednesday's US session where doubt was cast by investors on future rate cuts, due to the central bank's chairman Jerome Powell's hawkish tinged statement.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,291.75, down 9.00 points or 0.3 per cent on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, shares in Australia, China, Hong Kong and South Korea also closed lower. Closing in positive territory, Japan and Malaysia bucked the trend.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 934.31 million securities, 78 per cent of the daily average in the first six months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.11 billion, 5 per cent over the January-to-June daily average.

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Across the broader market, decliners beat advancers 264 to 162. Meanwhile, the blue-chip index had 18 of its 30 components closing in the red.

Singtel, which rose S$0.03 or 0.9 per cent to S$3.36, was the benchmark index's most traded stock with 20.4 million shares changing hands.

Financials had a mixed day at the office. DBS Group Holdings closed S$0.10 or 0.4 per cent higher at S$26.51, OCBC Bank fell S$0.12 or 1 per cent to end at S$11.42 while United Overseas Bank (UOB) finished at S$26.28, down S$0.12 or 0.5 per cent. 

OCBC Bank and UOB will be reporting earnings for the second quarter before market open on Friday.

Bourse operator Singapore Exchange (SGX), which on Wednesday posted a 24 per cent increase in bottomline for the fourth quarter on record derivatives revenue, saw its shares finish S$0.14 or 1.8 per cent lower at S$7.78.

On Thursday, DBS Equity Research upgraded its recommendation on SGX to "buy" with a target price of S$8.30 on the back of strong earnings. Meanwhile, RHB Research Institute is of the opinion the bourse operator's positives, like its stronger derivatives business profile, are largely priced in. As such, the research house downgraded the stock to "neutral" with a target price of S$8.10.

Singapore Airlines, the other STI component that reported earnings after market close on Wednesday, ended S$0.47 or 4.9 per cent lower at S$9.20 on an ex-dividend basis.

The national carrier saw Q1 net profit drop 20.7 per cent on higher share of losses from associated companies and net finance charges plus an uptick in expenditure.

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