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Singapore shares fall at open tracking Wall Street selloff; STI down 1% to 3,201.57

TRACKING Wall Street's largest selloff since January, Singapore stocks opened lower on Tuesday, with the Straits Times Index falling 1.01 per cent, or 32.71 points to 3,201.57 as at 9.02am.

This comes as US stocks plunged overnight, after Beijing announced retaliatory tariffs on US$60 billion of American goods, stoking fears that the long-drawn conflict could escalate further. 

On the Singapore bourse, losers outnumbered gainers 123 to 21, or about six securities down for every one up, after 56.7 million securities worth S$79.2 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Thomson Medical slipped 1.4 per cent, or 0.1 Singapore cent to 6.9 Singapore cents, with 4.5 million shares traded. Meanwhile, Keppel DC Reit lost 3.3 per cent, or five Singapore cents to S$1.49, with 3.9 million shares traded.

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Banking stocks also opened weaker - DBS was down 2.2 per cent or S$0.58 to S$25.42, OCBC dropped 1 per cent, or S$0.11 to S$11.09, and UOB slipped 0.8 per cent or S$0.20 to S$24.98.

Amid a sea of red in the early trade, Thai Beverage lost 2.6 per cent, or two Singapore cents to S$0.745, and Venture was down 2.1 per cent, or S$0.33 to S$15.33. 

Tech stocks also took a beating, with Hi-P falling 1.6 per cent, or two Singapore cents to S$1.20, and UMS Holdings down 0.8 per cent, or 0.5 Singapore cent to S$0.61. 

UOB analysts highlighted in a research note on Tuesday morning that the fallout from the collapse of the US-China trade talks will remain the primary market focus for the day.

In response to US President Donald Trump's tariff hikes, China's finance ministry said it plans to set import tariffs ranging from 5 to 25 per cent on a target list of some 5,140 US products worth US$60 billion, effective June 1. 

Mr Trump on Monday warned China not to retaliate against a hike in tariffs he imposed last week, and said the nation "will be hurt very badly" if it doesn't make a deal quickly. 

There "is no reason for the US Consumer to pay the Tariffs, which take effect on China today... China should not retaliate - will only get worse!" Mr Trump tweeted.

Over in New York on Monday, the S&P 500 tumbled 2.4 per cent to 2,811.87, in its worst showing since Jan 3, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq saw its largest decline of the year, with a 3.4 per cent slump to 7,647.02.

Heaping on more pressure to the benchmark was a 5.8 per cent drop for index heavyweight Apple, which was eyeing its biggest one-day drop since Jan 3, and among its largest over the past five years, FT reported.

The battering also left the Dow Jones Industrial Average at its lowest close in more than three months - the Dow dropped 2.4 per cent as Boeing fell 4.9 per cent, following a Chinese media report that Beijing could reduce orders from the manufacturer.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened sharply lower on Tuesday, extending losses in global markets as the US-China trade war escalated, and pushed the yen higher.

Japan's Topix index lost 2 per cent as at 9.08am in Tokyo, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.3 per cent, while South Korea's Kospi index was down by 0.7 per cent.

In the commodities space, oil prices inched higher, though Sino-US trade tensions capped gains. Brent crude futures were up six US cents, or 0.1 per cent to US$70.27 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at US$61.17 per barrel, up 12 US cents, or 0.2 per cent from their previous close. 

Similarly, gold steadied on Tuesday with spot gold inching up 0.1 per cent to US$1,301.40 per ounce. The metal had recouped the key US$1,300 level in the previous session, rising by about 1.2 per cent to peak at US$1,301.10 an ounce, its highest level since mid April. This comes after Beijing's announcement of tariff hikes rocked risk sentiment and fuelled appetite for safe-haven assets.