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Singapore stocks open lower, tracking Wall Street slide; STI down 0.4%

SINGAPORE shares opened weaker on Thursday, breaking a three-day rally, following Wall Street losses on Wednesday.

The Straits Times Index (STI) fell 11.13 points or 0.4 per cent to 2,777.46 as at 9.03am.

Losers outnumbered gainers 64 to 46, after 87.3 million securities worth S$85.8 million changed hands.

The trio of local banks were trading lower in early trade. UOB shares were down two Singapore cents or 0.1 per cent at S$22.30 as at 9.29am, while OCBC fell nine Singapore cents or 0.9 per cent to S$9.81.

Meanwhile, DBS fell 40 Singapore cents or 1.6 per cent to S$24.23. It was reported that South-east Asia's largest lender could make further inroads into the tough-to-crack India market if the proposed takeover of cash-strapped Lakshmi Vilas Bank goes through, even though it will be saddled with the costs of turning a distressed asset around over the next few years, according to analysts.

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One of the actively traded counters was Starburst Holdings, with six million shares traded as at 9.06am. The counter rose 1.6 Singapore cents or 9.8 per cent to trade at 18 Singapore cents. The Catalist-listed firm's chairman Edward Lim and managing director Yap Tin Foo are under investigation in relation to "corrupt transactions with agents", Starburst said in response to queries from the Singapore Exchange on Wednesday.

Other actively traded securities include Sembcorp Marine and Genting Singapore. Sembcorp Marine fell 0.8 per cent or 0.1 Singapore cent to 12.8 cents as at 9.06am, while Genting Singapore slipped 0.6 per cent or 0.5 Singapore cent to 83 cents.

Among index counters, Singtel was one of the few trading higher, with its shares inching up S$0.01 or 0.4 per cent to S$2.36 with four million shares changing hands.

Malaysian property developer and soon-to-be glove maker Aspen Holdings also saw active trading with 2.9 million shares changing hands as at 9.06am. The counter was trading at 26 Singapore cents, down 0.5 cent or 1.9 per cent, after the company completed its placement of 100 million new ordinary shares, raising S$23.8 million.

In the US, Wall Street fell for a second straight session on Wednesday, as concerns over rising Covid-19 infections in the country offset vaccine-led optimism. Also weighing on sentiment was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's announcement that schools will once again close.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 1.2 per cent lower at 29,438.42, the broad-based S&P 500 dropped 1.2 per cent to 3,567.79, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.8 per cent to end at 11,801.60.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, stocks also opened lower on Thursday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 0.3 per cent or 87.20 points at 25,640.94 in early trade, the ASX 200 in Australia lost 0.4 per cent, while the Kospi slipped 0.3 per cent.

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