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Singapore shares open lower after virus fears hit US markets; STI down 0.03% on Wednesday

SINGAPORE shares opened slightly lower on Wednesday after US stocks took a hit overnight due to fears about China's new coronavirus.

Six people in China have died form the virus, while US authorities on Tuesday announced the country's first case.

Singapore's Straits Times Index lost 1.08 points or 0.03 per cent to 3,246.09 as at 9.04am on Wednesday.

Losers outnumbered gainers 75 to 60, after 158.8 million securities worth S$82.1 million changed hands.

Health-care related stocks were the most traded by volume on the Singapore bourse. Medtecs International led the way, rising S$0.014 or 15.2 per cent to S$0.106 after 26.3 million shares were traded. AsiaMedic was up S$0.001 or 5.6 per cent to S$0.019 on 22.8 million shares traded while Healthway Medical was up S$0.004 or 10 per cent to S$0.044 with about 8 million shares changing hands.

Thomson Medical Group also gained 0.3 Singapore cent or 4.8 per cent to 6.6 cents on 7.9 million shares traded.

Index stock Singtel rose S$0.04 or 1.2 per cent to S$3.31 after 2.1 million shares were traded.

All three local banks were in the red in the early morning session. DBS slipped S$0.02 or 0.1 per cent to S$26.28, UOB dropped S$0.08 or 0.3 per cent to S$26.40 and OCBC fell S$0.04 or 0.4 per cent to S$11.08.

Wall Street stocks on Tuesday retreated from record highs, with tourism stocks falling due to worries about the coronavirus, and Boeing shares being hammered by the latest 737 MAX delay.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.5 per cent at 29,196.04, the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.3 per cent to finish at 3,320.79, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.2 per cent at 9,370.81.

European shares also dipped on Tuesday amid concerns over the new virus in China, although positive news on business morale and easing cross-Atlantic trade tensions saw markets ending off session lows. The pan-European Stoxx 600 had edged down 0.1 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks also opened lower, as the Nikkei 225 index edged down 0.06 per cent or 15.46 points to 23,849.10 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.08 per cent or 1.45 points at 1,733.52.