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Singapore shares slip at Thursday's open after weak lead from US; STI down 0.4%

SINGAPORE stocks started Thursday on a softer note, after a lacklustre lead from Wall Street as investors mull the odds of a US stimulus deal by the end of the week.

The weak showing also comes after Singapore shares gave up early gains on Wednesday to close 0.1 per cent lower, as markets continue to remain cautious about the US pre-election fiscal stimulus.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) shed 9.84 points or 0.4 per cent to 2,515.77 as at 9.01am on Thursday.

Losers outpaced gainers 69 to 45, after 43.5 million securities worth S$47.9 million changed hands.

Among the index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Genting Singapore, which was flat at 66.5 Singapore cents with 4.8 million shares changing hands.

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The trio of local lenders were mixed in early trade. DBS slipped S$0.03 or 0.1 per cent to S$21.22, UOB lost S$0.08 or 0.4 per cent to S$19.84, while OCBC gained S$0.03 or 0.3 per cent to S$8.78.

Other active securities included City Developments Limited (CDL) which tumbled S$0.19 or 2.7 per cent to S$6.89.

This comes after CDL's director Kwek Leng Peck left the property giant on Monday, citing his disagreements with the board and management on the group's investment in a Chinese property group and its management of its British hotel arm. The 64-year-old stepped down after more than three decades in the role.

Meanwhile, Venture Corp fell S$0.54 or 2.6 per cent to S$20.43. Shares of the electronics manufacturing services firm had hit a 52-week intraday high of S$21.21 on Wednesday morning.

Over on Wall Street, US stocks edged lower on Wednesday as investors await updates on the fiscal stimulus from Congress.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4 per cent to 28,210.82 at the close, while the tech-rich Nasdaq lost 0.3 per cent to finish at 11,484.70. The broad-based S&P 500 declined 0.2 per cent to 3,435.56.

European stocks fell for a third straight session on Wednesday, dragged by healthcare and construction stocks. The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 1.3 per cent to close at its lowest in more than two weeks.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Thursday, weighed down by a higher yen against the US dollar and falls on Wall Street.

The Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.4 per cent or 104.09 points to 23,535.37 in early trade, while the broader Topix index shed 0.6 per cent or 9.51 points to 1,628.09.

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