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Singapore stocks fall at Friday's open; STI down 0.6%

SINGAPORE shares pulled back at the open on Friday, with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) losing 14.78 points or 0.6 per cent to 2,581.19 as at 9am. 

Decliners edged out advancers 69 to 66, after 79.6 million securities worth S$42.6 million changed hands. 

The most heavily traded counter by volume was Jiutian Chemical, which rose 0.3 Singapore cent or 8.3 per cent to 3.9 cents, with 21.5 million shares traded.

Meanwhile, Rex International lost 0.6 Singapore cent or 3.3 per cent to 17.5 cents, with 11.6 million shares changing hands. This comes after it fell into the red for the first half this year, with a US$21 million net loss versus a net profit of US$22.6 million a year ago, the group announced on Thursday. 

Banking stocks were down in early trade. DBS shed S$0.32 or 1.5 per cent to S$21.10, United Overseas Bank slipped S$0.20 or 1 per cent to S$19.88, while OCBC Bank dropped S$0.06 or 0.7 per cent to S$8.91. 

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Xihe Holdings, which is owned by Hin Leong founder OK Lim and his son, has been placed under interim judicial managers, after more creditors threw their support behind OCBC's application, The Business Times reported on Friday. However, Xihe has accused the bank of an "abuse of process". 

Other active securities include Frencken, which was down 9.7 per cent or S$0.12 to S$1.12, while Genting Singapore slipped 1.4 per cent or S$0.01 to S$0.71.

Over on Wall Street, US stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday as disappointment over stalled Washington stimulus talks blunted the lift from better-than-expected labour data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 per cent to 27,896.72, the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.2 per cent to 3,373.43, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.3 per cent to 11,042.50.

European stocks broke a four-day winning streak overnight, as ex-dividend trading and a stronger pound hit the UK's blue-chips, while investors sold off banks and energy stocks that have outperformed this week. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.6 per cent lower on Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened higher on Friday. The benchmark Nikkei index rose 0.3 per cent to 23,316.88 in early trade, while the broader Topix index fell 0.2 per cent to 1,621.37.

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