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Singapore stocks: STI resumes Wednesday afternoon at 3,159.63, down 0.2% on day

TRADE worries and growth concerns continued to fester after Wall Street returned from the Memorial Day break, which made for a sea of red across Asian equity markets, with Singapore not spared either. 

The Straits Times Index (STI) was trading at 3,159.63, down 5.69 points or 0.2 per cent, as at 1.04pm on Wednesday.

"Asia markets had largely commenced the session in red this morning, no surprise given the onslaught of worries setting in with regard to growth," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said.

ING Asia economist Prakash Sakpal noted that with little development on the trade front, investors were likely to turn their attention to the sustained dip in US Treasury yields.

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US equities faced losses in Tuesday's late session as the rally in US 10-year treasuries further inverted a portion of the yield curve.  Historically, an inverted curve has served as one of the signals that point to a looming recession.

Shortly after the afternoon session commenced, volume on the Singapore bourse clocked in at 713.50 million securities traded and a total turnover of S$476.54 million. Trade volumes were on track to close above the January-April average of 1.27 billion securities.

Across the market, decliners beat advancers 169 to 121. Meanwhile, the benchmark index had 17 of the STI's 30 components trading in the red.  

Among them, Genting Singapore was the benchmark index's most traded stock, with 14.8 million shares changing hands. The casino operator's shares reverse Tuesday's gains to trade one Singapore cent or 1.1 per cent down at 88 cents. 

The local banks were down. DBS Group Holdings was seven Singapore cents or 0.3 per cent lower at S$24.89, OCBC Bank dropped four Singapore cents or 0.4 per cent to S$10.90 and United Overseas Bank traded at S$24.16, down 15 Singapore cents or 0.6 per cent.

Singtel shares rebounded, trading at S$3.17, up two Singapore cents or 0.6 per cent up. Meanwhile, StarHub shares continued to dip, down one Singapore cent or 0.7 per cent lower to S$1.48. The Singapore-listed telcos were down on Tuesday after recently privatised M1 revealed that it will replace 19 mobile plans with one base plan each for SIM-only and handset bundles.  

DBS Equity research analyst, Sachin Mittal said on a report on Wednesday that M1's move is likely to have minimal impact on Singtel’s earnings "as Singapore mobile accounts for less than 10 per cent of Singtel’s bottom line".

Shares in mainboard-listed Top Global were halted prior to market open. This comes as Kenneth Low Si Ren, the executive director of Allied Technologies, is believed to have made a quick flip of a parcel of office and retail space in Thong Teck Building, selling it to the property group for S$129.5 million. During the midday break, Top Global confirmed that it has been granted options to purchase strata units within Thong Teck Building, and has requested the trading halt to be lifted.

With growth concerns mounting and trade issues still yet to be resolved, by and large, investors in regional markets remained jittery. Australia fell by 0.7 per cent, China edged down 0.1 per cent, and Hong Kong down 0.4 per cent. Japan and South Korea bore to brunt of the negative sentiment, trading 1.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent lower, respectively. Bucking the trend was Malaysia, which was up 0.6 per cent.