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Singapore stocks: STI resumes Monday afternoon down 0.16% on day

SINGAPORE equities commenced Monday's afternoon session on lower ground as investors remained concerned with the rising cases of Covid-19 infections and the economic impact from the outbreak. Sentiment in the city-state also dipped after the downgrade of Singapore's economic forecast for 2020.

The local benchmark, the Straits Times Index (STI), was trading at 3,214.94, down 5.09 points or 0.16 per cent as at 1.04pm.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said: "Coronavirus fears continue to work their way into the market, affecting market sentiment into the fresh week as the situation within China and around Asia continues to fluctuate."

Before market open, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) lowered Singapore's 2020 growth forecast, expecting it to fall between -0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent. Meanwhile, non-oil domestic exports (NODX) for January recorded a 3.3 per cent drop while the official full-year NODX forecast was also cut.

Shortly after the afternoon session commenced, volume traded on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 862.48 million securities with a total turnover of S$431.5 million. Volume is on track to beat its 2019 daily average while turnover is likely to miss last year's intraday average.

Across the market, advancers and decliners were even at 161 each. The bluechip index had 19 of the 30 counters in trading in the red.

Thai Beverage was the STI's most active counter, leaping S$0.045 or 5.7 per cent to S$0.83 on 24.8 million units changing hands. Last Friday, the STI's best performer in 2019 posted a 14 per cent increase in Q1 net profit to 8.4 billion baht (S$380 million), from 7.4 billion baht a year ago.

ComfortDelGro was another active counter. Shares in the transport operator fell S$0.09 or 4.1 per cent to S$2.09, after reporting on Friday a 12.6 per cent decline in FY2019 net profit due in part to an impairment of S$27.3 million for its taxi business.

Singapore's bellwether banking trio were lower. DBS shares dipped S$0.04 or 0.2 per cent to S$25.51, OCBC Bank fell S$0.02 or 0.2 per cent to S$11.04 and United Overseas Bank traded at S$26.16, down S$0.09 cents or 0.3 per cent as at 1.04pm.

Among penny plays, Rex International shares jumped S$0.02 or 11.7 per cent to 19.1 Singapore cents, shortly after trading in the counter resumed at 1pm. During the midday break, Rex announced its subsidiary Masirah Oil had achieved successful oil flow from its Yunma 1 well in Oman. The upstream oil and gas firm had closed at 17.1 Singapore cents on Thursday, before trading was halted.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, benchmarks were mixed. Australia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia were lower. China and Hong Kong posted gains.