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Singapore shares open sharply lower on Thursday; STI down 1.4% to 2,991.12

SINGAPORE stocks opened lower on Thursday, with the Straits Times Index shedding 1.4 per cent or 40.96 points to 2,991.12 as at 9.05am.

The local bourse was swept up in the worldwide rout, with Asian shares diving on Thursday as hundreds of billions of dollars haemorrhaged from global markets after a rout in tech stocks inflicted the largest daily decline on Wall Street since 2011, wiping out all its gains for the year.

Losers heavily outnumbered gainers 146 to 26, as some 62.4 million shares worth S$103.3 million in total changed hands.

The most actively traded counter was Genting Singapore with 11.13 million shares changing hands, falling 1.65 per cent or 1.5 Singapore cents to 89.5 Singapore cents. Other actives included Metech International with 4.93 million units traded, flat at 0.1 Singapore cent; and Rex International with 3.48 million shares traded, down 6.85 per cent, or 0.5 Singapore cent to 6.8 Singapore cents.

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The three local banks dipped in early trade. UOB saw the largest percentage drop, tumbling 1.32 per cent or 33 Singapore cents to S$24.69, while DBS sank 1.29 per cent or 31 Singapore cents to S$23.79. OCBC Bank was trading at S$10.52, down 1.13 per cent or 12 Singapore cents.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei plunged more than three per cent at the start of trade Thursday.

A selloff in US stocks precipitated the fall. US stocks plunged overnight on Wednesday, confirming a correction for the Nasdaq and erasing the Dow and S&P 500's gains for the year, as disappointing forecasts from chipmakers and weak home sales data fuelled jitters about economic and profit growth.

The Nasdaq closed down 12.4 per cent from its Aug 29 record closing high, falling 4.4 per cent for the day in its biggest one-day percentage decline since Aug 18, 2011.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 608.01 points, or 2.41 per cent, to 24,583.42, the S&P 500 lost 84.59 points, or 3.09 per cent, to 2,656.1 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 329.14 points, or 4.43 per cent, to 7,108.40.