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Singapore stocks begin week on softer note

SINGAPORE stocks ended Monday on a broadly weaker note, amid waves of late afternoon selling.

The benchmark Straits Times Index closed at 2,482.55, down 7.54 points or 0.3 per cent.

Among the biggest losers of the day was Singapore Airlines, which sank 1.4 per cent to close at S$3.51.

This comes after the airline said last week that some 2,400 staff could be laid off, a clear sign it is preparing to weather a protracted slump in international long-haul air travel.

Among other STI components that ended Monday weaker were Ascendas Reit, which fell 1.22 per cent to close at S$3.23, and Wilmar International, which sank 1.19 per cent to close at S$4.15.

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At the other end of the spectrum, the best performers for the day were CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) and CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT), which are due to seek unitholder approval for their merger plans later this month. The managers of the two Reits have said the merger will enable them to better pursue growth initiatives.

CMT climbed 2.03 per cent to close at S$2.01; CCT rose 2.38 per cent to close at S$1.72.

Elsewhere, Sembcorp Industries edged 0.85 per cent higher to close at S$1.19. The stock has enjoyed a significant re-rating since recapitalising and de-merging its subsidiary Sembcorp Marine.

On the other hand, Sembmarine - which has just completed a five-for-one rights issue of new shares priced at S$0.20 - continued sinking. It ended Monday 0.61 per cent down at S$0.162, but traded at as low as S$0.157 during the day.

Meanwhile, markets across the region were generally firmer, amid growing anticipation among analysts that correction in the S&P500, which has fallen nearly 7 per cent since Sept 2, could be coming to an end.

Benchmark indices for Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta ended the day in positive territory.

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