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Singapore shares tumble at open after Wall St falls on virus fears; STI down 2.25%

SINGAPORE shares sank at the opening bell on Tuesday after Wall Street finished markedly lower overnight on fears the coronavirus might impact global economic growth.

On the first trading day after the long Lunar New Year weekend, the Straits Times Index shed 73 points or 2.25 per cent to 3,167.02 as at 9.04am.

Losers outnumbered gainers 233 to 42, after 226.5 million securities worth S$250.8 million changed hands.

Medtecs International was the most traded counter by volume in the morning, rising S$0.012 or 11.5 per cent to S$0.116 after 20.1 million shares were traded.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding lost S$0.075 or 7.2 per cent to S$0.965 on 13.1 million shares traded while Genting Singapore was down S$0.04 or 4.4 per cent to S$0.87 after about 14 million shares changed hands.

Index stock Singtel slipped S$0.02 or 0.6 per cent to S$3.37 on 5.3 million shares traded.

All three local banks were among the sea of red on the Singapore bourse. DBS fell S$0.48 or 1.8 per cent to S$25.72, OCBC lost S$0.26 or 2.3 per cent to S$10.84 while UOB shed S$0.73 or 2.8 per cent to S$25.62.

Wall Street stocks finished solidly in the red on Monday, spooked by worries the coronavirus will weigh on global economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 450 points or 1.6 per cent to finish at 28,535.50, the broad-based S&P 500 dropped 1.6 per cent to end the day at 3,243.63, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.9 per cent to 9,139.31.

The losses opened a heavy week of US economic news that includes a Federal Reserve meeting and earnings reports from Apple, Amazon, Boeing and other giants.

Potential damage to business from the virus also knocked more than 2 per cent off European stocks on Monday.

More than 97 per cent of stocks in the STOXX 600 were trading in the red with many toppling from record highs, wiping out around 180 billion euros of market capitalisation from the European share index.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.87 per cent or 204.21 points to 23,139.30 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.97 per cent or 16.57 points at 1,686.00.