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Singapore stocks fall as economy slumps into recession; STI opens 0.5% lower

SINGAPORE shares pulled back at Tuesday's open, with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) losing 13.18 points or 0.5 per cent to 2,617.90 as at 9.02am. 

On Tuesday morning, advance estimates by the Ministry of Trade and Industry showed that Singapore's gross domestic product plummeted 12.6 per cent year on year in the second quarter, bringing the country into a full-blown recession.

The softer note on the Singapore bourse also comes after the STI slipped 0.8 per cent at Monday's close, in its first day of trading following a surprise general election outcome that saw the ruling People's Action Party secure a smaller-than-expected margin of victory.

During Tuesday's early trade, losers outnumbered gainers 95 to 40, after about 87.5 million securities worth S$42.4 million changed hands. 

Among index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Singtel, which was flat at S$2.50 with 1.3 million shares changing hands, while CapitaLand Mall Trust slipped S$0.01 or 0.5 per cent to S$2.03 after 1.2 million units traded.

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Banking stocks were in the red in the early session. DBS shed S$0.15 or 0.7 per cent to S$21.39, United Overseas Bank lost S$0.25 or 1.2 per cent to S$20.59, while OCBC Bank slipped S$0.03 or 0.3 per cent to S$9.16. 

Other active counters included Medtecs International which tumbled S$0.07 or 10.3 per cent to S$0.61, and UG Healthcare which dropped S$0.15 or 8.5 per cent to S$1.61. Shares of the two Catalist-listed healthcare players sank on Monday, prompting separate queries from the Singapore Exchange

Singapore Press Holdings fell S$0.02 or 1.6 per cent to S$1.24, after the media and property group on Monday evening said its operating profit for the fiscal year ending Aug 31, 2020 is expected to be "significantly lower" than a year ago.

Meanwhile, Top Glove bucked the downward trend, gaining S$0.11 or 1.4 per cent to S$7.92. 

Over on Wall Street, the rally in US stocks fizzled overnight following more signs of coronavirus troubles after California rolled back its reopening plans. 

Separately, European shares rose on Monday as progress on a possible Covid-19 vaccine, some upbeat earnings and stimulus talks fed into hopes of an economic recovery.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Tuesday as sentiment worsened on fresh virus worries. The benchmark Nikkei was down 0.6 per cent, while the broader Topix slipped 0.4 per cent.

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