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Singapore stocks tumble amid Wall Street rout, STI down 1.22%

SINGAPORE shares sank on Thursday, tracking the Wall Street rout overnight amid fears of a second wave of the coronavirus, stalled US stimulus talks and an increasingly contentious US presidential election campaign.

Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, said: "Fading prospects for US fiscal stimulus and the stepping up of mobility restrictions on concerns about the second wave of Covid-19 are smacking global stock markets again."

Soaring Covid-19 figures in some regions have fuelled concerns over the reimposition of movement-restriction orders that will hurt economies further. France, for instance, has ordered bars and restaurants in Marseille to shut and will restrict opening hours in other cities to contain the novel coronavirus.

With the services sectors already lagging manufacturing across most economies, those "divergencies are likely to persist" if the authorities continue to tighten social-mobility restrictions in response to rising daily Covid-19 cases, said Mr Innes.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) fell 1.22 per cent or 30.32 points to 2,450.82. Losers outnumbered gainers 281 to 135, after 1.33 billion securities worth S$1.21 billion changed hands.

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The Singapore Exchange (SGX) was the only counter on the blue-chip index that ended in the black. Shares of SGX gained 0.7 per cent or S$0.06 to S$9.04.

Singtel, on the other hand, failed to sustain yesterday's gains and fell to the bottom of the table. The counter dropped 3.6 per cent or S$0.08 to S$2.12. It remained the most heavily traded STI stock with over 35.9 million shares changing hands.

Other active counter include Genting Singapore, which fell 1.5 per cent or S$0.01 to S$0.67, and ComfortDelGro, which shed 2.7 per cent or S$0.04 to S$1.42.

Also heavily traded was Wilmar International. Shares of the agri-food giant fell 0.5 per cent or S$0.02 to S$4.36. Wilmar said in a bourse filing on Thursday that the proposed listing of its China unit is expected to raise 13.9 billion yuan (S$2.81 billion).

The STI's performance was in line with regional bourses that were spooked by Wall Street's sell-off. Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo were all down more than 1 per cent; Seoul slipped 2.6 per cent. Bucking the trend was Malaysia's KLCI, which ended the day up 0.3 per cent.

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