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Singapore stocks: STI down 4.7% in afternoon trading

SINGAPORE equities are on track for a seventh successive session of losses after the European Central Bank's (ECB) stimulus measures failed to lift moods as fears mount over a virus-induced global recession.

While some early gains were had in a number of Asia equity benchmarks, by mid-morning, selling intensified as investors rushed to liquidate their assets. On Thursday afternoon, the Reserve bank of Australia lowered interest rates to a record low of 0.25 per cent to stem the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Straits Times Index (STI), down 0.5 per cent at the morning open, was trading 114.71 points or 4.7 per cent lower at 2,310.91 as at 1.04pm. 

Shortly after the afternoon session began, volume traded on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 1.06 billion securities with a total turnover of S$1.2 billion. Both volume and turnover are on track to beat their respective 2019 intraday averages.

Across the market, decliners trumped advancers 412 to 79. The bluechip index had all but one - Yangzijiang Shipbuilding - of its 30 counters trading in the red.

Singtel was the STI's most active counter. The telco traded S$0.08 or 3.2 per cent lower at S$2.39 after 38.1 million shares changed hands.

With more trade restrictions kicking in globally, the STI's aviation related counters continue to be among the heaviest hit.

Singapore Airlines shares lost S$0.46 or 7 per cent lower at S$6.07 and ground handler SATS fell S$0.27 or 8.7 per cent lower at S$2.85.

The local banks continued to slide. DBS fell S$0.48 or 2.7 per cent to S$17.42, OCBC Bank lost S$0.38 or 4.5 per cent to S$8.11 while United Overseas Bank was trading at S$18.30, down S$0.90 or 4.7 per cent, as at 1.06pm on Thursday. 

Among real estate investment trusts, Mapletree Commercial Trust units shed S$0.12 or 6.8 per cent to S$1.65 while CapitaLand Mall Trust skidded S$0.12 or 6.6 per cent to S$1.71.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, equity benchmarks were similarly battered, with Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand decidedly lower.