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Singapore stocks decline on Friday morning; STI opens 0.15% lower

SINGAPORE stocks began trading on Friday in slightly negative territory following weaker performances in the US and the region. Investors took caution as fears over the Covid-19 virus situation lingered. 

The Straits Times Index fell 0.15 per cent or 4.81 points to 3,215.28 as at 9.03am.

Losers and gainers were evenly matched at 55, after about 45.5 million securities worth S$54.1 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded was Medtecs International, which rose 0.9 per cent or 0.1 Singapore cent to 11.6 cents after 6.5 million shares changed hands. ESR-Reit held steady at S$0.54 with 3.4 million shares traded, while newly listed Don Agro International was flat at S$0.25 on 3.4 million shares traded. 

All three banking stocks started the morning session in the red. DBS fell 0.3 per cent or S$0.08 to S$25.34 on a cum-dividend basis, UOB dropped 0.2 per cent or S$0.05 to S$26.15, while OCBC Bank fell 0.5 per cent or S$0.05 to S$11.00. 

Other active securities included Hi-P International which shed 3.1 per cent or S$0.04 to S$1.26. The mainboard-listed contract manufacturer saw its fourth-quarter earnings halved, according to results released on Thursday.

Sats fell 1.8 per cent or S$0.08 to S$4.46. The aviation services provider warned on Thursday that its short-term showing could take a hit from the Covid-19 outbreak. 

The Singapore bourse's slightly weaker performance on Friday follows Wall Street's retreat overnight from record levels. This was after China reported the biggest one-day increase in cases of the new coronavirus since the outbreak began, after authorities changed the way they were counting the number of cases.

The tech-rich Nasdaq dropped 0.1 per cent to close at 9,711.97, while the broad-based S&P 500 closed 0.2 per cent lower at 3,373.94.

On Friday, Tokyo also opened lower on virus jitters, with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index losing 0.51 per cent to 23,705.72 in early trade, while the broader Topix index fell 0.54 per cent to 1,703.85.