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Singapore stocks: STI resumes Thursday afternoon down 0.1% at 3,296.91

THE local market, like its regional counterparts traded lower following the US Federal Reserve's unsurprising 25 basis point interest rate cut.

That said, the central bank's chairman Jerome Powell's hawkish tinged statement triggered doubts among investors on whether there would be another rate cut this year.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) was trading at 3,296.91, down 3.84 points or 0.1 per cent, as at 1.04pm on Thursday.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, shares in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea dropped while Malaysia was flat.

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ING Asia economist Prakash Sakpal noted that sentiment remained risk-off, after US Fed Chairman Jerome Powell "dampened hopes of an aggressive easing cycle ahead.

Shortly after the afternoon session commenced, volume on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 473.3 million securities traded and a total turnover of S$495.4 million. Both are on track to fall below their respective six-month daily averages.

Across the market, decliners beat advancers 193 to 140. The benchmark index had 15 of the STI's 30 components trading in the red.

Singtel, which rose S$0.02 or 0.6 per cent higher to S$3.35, was the benchmark index's most traded stock with 8.8 million shares changing hands.

The local banks were mixed. DBS Group Holdings was S$0.12 or 0.5 per cent up at S$26.53. Meanwhile, OCBC Bank fell S$0.12 or 1 per cent down at S$11.42 and United Overseas Bank dipped S$0.02 or 0.1 per cent to S$26.38.

Bourse operator Singapore Exchange (SGX), which posted a 24 per cent increase in bottomline for the fourth quarter on record derivatives revenue, saw its shares trading S$0.13 or 1.6 per cent down at S$7.79.

DBS Equity Research upgraded its recommendation on SGX to "buy" with a target price of S$8.30 on the back of strong earnings. 

"We believe SGX will continue to benefit from strong demand for risk management instruments amid the uncertain market environment. It has delivered record derivatives performance in the last few quarters, offsetting the slower equities business," DBS analyst Lim Rui Wen said.

Singapore Airlines, the other STI component that reported earnings after market close on Wednesday, was trading S$0.43 or 4.5 per cent down at S$9.24 on an ex-dividend basis.

The national carrier saw Q1 net profit drop 20.7 per cent on higher share of losses from associated companies and net finance charges plus an uptick in expenditure.