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Singapore shares open lower on Friday; STI down 1% as global trade war fears hit Asia

SINGAPORE shares tumbled one per cent lower after the opening bell with the Straits Times Index down 35.69 points to 3,478.16 as at 9.02am on Friday as a Wall Street retreat extended into Asia.

This follows US President Donald Trump promising to slap big tariffs on steel and aluminium imports - raising concerns of a potential trade war - with Canada, Brazil and the European Union already threatening retaliation.

Concerns on what a more hawkish Federal Reserve could do to global economic growth have also rattled markets this week after testimony from the new Fed chief Jerome Powell.

On the Singapore Exchange, about 81 million shares worth S$87 million in total changed hands as losers outnumbered gainers 128 to 44.

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The most actively traded stock was Thai Beverage, which was trading at S$0.825 with 13.3 million shares changing hands.

Other actives included Advance SCT and Oceanus Group.

Active index stocks included DBS, down S$0.47 or 1.63 per cent at S$28.33; and OCBC Bank shares trading down S$0.17 or 1.29 per cent at S$13.04.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 registered a third straight day of more than one percent declines, closing 36.22 points, or 1.33 per cent lower, to 2,677.61.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 420.22 points, or 1.68 per cent, to 24,608.98, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 92.45 points, or 1.27 per cent, to 7,180.56.

In regional markets, Japanese stocks bore the brunt of declines as Japan's Topix index fell 1.5 per cent as of 9.02am in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.5 per cent and South Korea's Kospi index retreated one per cent, Bloomberg said.