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Singapore stocks: STI resumes Thursday afternoon at 3,085.23, down 0.15% on day

AHEAD of Thursday's talks in Washington, sentiment continues to be dictated by developments on the US-China trade front and conflicting news reports did not make matters easier, resulting in a mixed trading scene in Asia.

It seems like bearish headlines won out here, with the Straits Times Index (STI) trading at 3,085.23, down 4.67 points or 0.15 per cent as at 1.05pm.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, markets in Australia, Malaysia and South Korea were lower. While those in China, Hong Kong and Japan posted gains.

On one side, reports suggested that China offered to buy another 10 million tonnes of soya beans from the US, a boon for those bullish on successful talks. On the other, reports after Wall Street's close on Wednesday pointed to deputy-level talks between the two sides yielding little progress. 

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IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted that the "moderate optimism on a limited trade deal had been wiped away with reports of the lack of progress in deputy-level talks". Expectations are low for Thursday’s talks, she added.

Shortly after the afternoon session commenced, volume on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 434.39 million securities traded and a total turnover of S$359.07 million. Both are on track to miss their respective eight-month daily averages.

Across the market, decliners edged out advancers 150 to 134. The bluechip index had 14 of the 30 counters in trading in the red.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding shares continued to see active trading and were trading higher on Thursday. The shipbuilder is up one Singapore cent or 1 per cent to 93.5 cents with 12.8 million shares changing hands, the most on the STI.

Singtel's shares were also up, trading one Singapore cent or 0.3 per cent higher at S$3.15.

On Thursday, DBS Equity Research said the telco could cut its dividend rate from 15 to 13 Singapore cents per share for FY2021 in order to maintain its credit rating. DBS analyst Sachin Mittal noted that Singtel's outlook remains challenging with its regional associates’ profit contribution being "a critical factor driving Singtel’s share price".

The local banks were slightly higher. DBS Group Holdings shares gained three Singapore cents or 0.1 per cent to S$24.63; OCBC Bank was one Singapore cent or 0.1 per cent higher to S$10.62 and United Overseas Bank traded at S$25.38, up two cents or 0.1 per cent.