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Singapore shares open lower on Monday; STI down 0.04% to 3,158.45

SINGAPORE shares inched slightly lower on Monday, with the Straits Times Index (STI) down 0.04 per cent, or 1.23 points to 3,158.45 as at 9.01am. 

Gainers beat losers 46 to 44, after about 24.3 million shares worth S$38.5 million changed hands. 

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT) gained 0.9 per cent, or two Singapore cents to S$2.29, with 29.4 million shares traded, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was flat at S$1, with 2.3 million shares traded. 

MCT replaces Hutchison Port Holdings Trust to join the benchmark STI with effect from Monday. 

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Financials were in the red in the early morning trade - DBS lost 0.1 per cent, or three cents to S$25.12, OCBC Bank slipped 0.4 per cent, or four cents to S$10.91, and United Overseas Bank was down 0.2 per cent, or four cents to S$25.72. 

Other active index stocks included Genting Singapore which fell 0.6 per cent, or 0.5 cent to 90 cents, and Singapore Exchange (SGX) which lost 0.4 per cent, or three cents to S$8.37 on a cum-dividend basis. 

Elsewhere, Asian equities were mixed. Australian shares added 0.5 per cent, South Korean stocks retreated slightly after disappointing trade data, while Japan's Nikkei was closed for a holiday. 

Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader noted that trade war news flows continue to toggle risk sentiment. "Given that worries about global growth and the slowdown in manufacturing sit atop their 'wall of worry', the European PMIs (purchasing managers' index) today will likely be a key focus ahead of US regional surveys later in the week," Mr Innes said.