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Singapore shares slip at Wednesday's open; STI down 0.7%

SINGAPORE shares pulled back at Wednesday's open after the Ministry of Trade and Industry tightened its forecast of Singapore's economic performance in 2020 the day before.

The Singapore economy is now expected to shrink between 5 per cent and 7 per cent this year, and analysts say it may take "some quarters" for activity to return to the pre-pandemic level.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) lost 16.71 points or 0.7 per cent to 2,527.44 as at 9.03am.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 82 to 49, after 89 million securities worth S$87.7 million changed hands.

The most heavily traded counter by volume was Medtecs International Corporation which gained 23.1 per cent or 22.5 Singapore cents to S$1.20, with some 28.8 million shares traded. 

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The Catalist-listed healthcare player on Tuesday posted a net profit of US$38.9 million for the six months ended June 30, 2020 - 101 times the US$385,000 net profit a year ago. This came on the back of a surge in sales of personal protective apparel during the novel coronavirus outbreak, as well as forex gains. 

Meanwhile, banking stocks were down in early trade. DBS slipped S$0.13 or 0.6 per cent to S$20.72, United Overseas Bank lost S$0.16 or 0.8 per cent to S$19.49, while OCBC Bank retreated S$0.06 or 0.7 per cent to S$8.70.

Other active securities included Riverstone which fell S$0.25 or 5.5 per cent to S$4.32, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was down three Singapore cents or 3.1 per cent to 93.5 cents.

Over on Wall Street, US stocks reversed course to end in the red overnight, after hopes for a new economic stimulus package were dented.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.4 per cent and the S&P 500 fell 0.8 per cent, while the Nasdaq continued its recent slide to close with a loss of 1.7 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened higher on Wednesday despite the Wall Street losses. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.2 per cent or 37.32 points at 22,787.56 in early trade, while the broader Topix index climbed 0.4 per cent or 5.99 points to 1,591.95.

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