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Singapore shares fall as Fed cut fails to quell jitters; STI down 0.2% at open

SINGAPORE shares opened lower on Wednesday tracking Wall Street losses overnight, even as the US central bank cut interest rates by half a percentage point, its largest single cut since the 2008 financial crisis. 

Over in the Singapore bourse, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) retreated 6.50 points or 0.2 per cent to 3,013.06 as at 9.02am. 

Losers outnumbered gainers 84 to 58, with about 49.9 million securities worth S$88.7 million changing hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Golden Agri-Resources shed 0.5 Singapore cent or 2.4 per cent to 20 cents with 5.9 million shares traded, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding dipped S$0.01 or 1.1 per cent to S$0.91 with 4.8 million shares traded. 

The banking trio also faltered in the early morning session. DBS slipped S$0.11 or 0.5 per cent to S$24.05, United Overseas Bank fell S$0.13 or 0.5 per cent to S$24.14, while OCBC Bank declined S$0.07 or 0.7 per cent to S$10.58. 

Other active index stocks included Mapletree Commercial Trust, which gained S$0.04 or 1.9 per cent to S$2.17, while CapitaLand Commercial Trust added S$0.02 or 1 per cent to S$1.94.

In the US, Wall Street stocks finished sharply lower on Tuesday, amid scepticism at an emergency rate cut delivered by the US Federal Reserve in a bid to shield the country from the Covid-19 outbreak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 25,917.41, down 2.9 per cent, the broad-based S&P 500 sank 2.8 per cent to finish the day at 3,003.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slumped 3 per cent to 8,684.09.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, stocks were mixed as investors were underwhelmed by the surprise Fed rate cut. Japan's Topix fell 0.1 per cent, South Korea's Kospi added 1.2 per cent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index tumbled 1.3 per cent.