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Singapore stocks tumble tracking US rout on virus jitters; STI opens 0.9% lower

SINGAPORE shares pulled back on Wednesday morning after Wall Street stocks suffered a second straight rout overnight, with losses picking up after US health officials warned that the novel coronavirus was likely to hit the world’s biggest economy.

Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) declined by 29.35 points or 0.9 per cent to 3,128.89 as at 9.05am on Wednesday.

Losers outnumbered gainers 182 to 36, or about five counters down for every one up, after 125.9 million securities worth S$160.6 million changed hands.

Heavyweight counters - including most of the STI constituents - were in a sea of red during the early trading session.

Among the trio of banks, DBS fell S$0.25 or 1 per cent to S$24.68, UOB dropped S$0.28 or 1.1 per cent to S$25.12, and OCBC Bank decreased by S$0.08 or 0.7 per cent to S$10.89 as at 9.04am.

Ascendas Reit shed S$0.08 or 2.4 per cent to S$3.20 on 3.7 million units traded, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding lost 3.5 Singapore cents or 3.5 per cent to 97.5 cents on six million shares traded.

The most heavily traded by volume was Golden Agri-Resources, which sank 0.5 Singapore cent or 2.4 per cent to 20.5 cents after 14.9 million shares changed hands.

CapitaLand shed S$0.04 or 1.1 per cent to S$3.68. Earlier in the day, the real estate giant had posted stellar results for its latest quarter, with net profit nearly doubling to S$926.6 million.

City Developments Limited (CDL) tumbled S$0.22 or 2.1 per cent to S$10.44 as at 9.04am. The property and hotels group saw net profit grow 12.5 per cent for its fourth quarter, according to results released on Wednesday morning.

In the US, major US indices started Tuesday’s session higher but quickly reversed course after American health authorities urged local governments, businesses and schools to develop contingency plans for an expected larger virus outbreak in the country.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Wednesday. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.21 per cent to 22,331.85 points, while the broader Topix index was down 1.16 per cent at 1,599.49 points.