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Singapore shares open lower on Wednesday; STI down 0.38%

SINGAPORE shares started Wednesday lower following a mixed US trading session overnight. The Straits Times Index pared some of its Tuesday gains, losing 12.41 points or 0.38 per cent to 3,255.39 as at 9.05am.

Losers outnumbered gainers 80 to 66, after 70.3 million securities worth S$66.2 million changed hands.

The most actively traded security was Jiutian Chemical, up S$0.002 or 11.8 per cent to S$0.019 after 6.7 million shares were traded. Other actives included mineral firm AsiaPhos and healthcare provider AsiaMedic.

Mapletree North Asia Commercial Trust (MNACT) slid S$0.05 or 4.1 per cent to S$1.17 after it reported extensive damage to its Festival Walk mall in Hong Kong following protests on Tuesday evening.

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A few groups of protestors smashed the glass panels at entrances to the property, including the office lobby and balustrades on various levels of the mall, said MNACT.

The mall has been closed for operations since 2pm on Tuesday amid city-wide disruptions, and will remain close on Wednesday.

Among index securities, Wilmar International traded up S$0.05 or 1.3 per cent to S$3.90, while Ascendas Reit was up S$0.04 or 1.4 per cent to S$2.91.

All three local banks lost ground with DBS declining S$0.10 or 0.4 per cent to S$26.63, OCBC shares losing S$0.07 or 0.6 per cent to S$11.10 and UOB edging down S$0.03 or 0.1 per cent to S$26.99.

US stocks ended mixed on Tuesday but the Nasdaq posted a new record even though investors still have not received clarity on an agreement to end the US-China trade war.

In a rarely seen development, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with no change at 27,691.49. The broader S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to finish at 3,091.84 while the tech-dominated Nasdaq Composite Index rose nearly 0.3 per cent to close at a new high of 8,486.09.

European shares climbed back to a four-year high on Tuesday as positive German investor sentiment data and a slew of upbeat earnings lifted the mood, but Spanish stocks lagged after socialist and far-left parties joined forces to form a coalition.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index, rose 0.4 per cent, trading just 2 per cent below its all-time highs hit in April 2015.

The gains were led by telecoms stocks, which gained 1.4 per cent boosted by the world's second largest mobile operator Vodafone after it increased its full-year earnings guidance.

In Tokyo, stocks opened marginally lower as investors waited for a speech by the US Federal Reserve chief and key Chinese data later in the week.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.34 per cent or 81.07 points to 23,438.94 in early trade while the broader Topix was down 0.16 per cent or 2.77 points at 1,706.90.