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STI plummets 6.2% in early Friday trade, tracking global rout

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Singapore shares plunged at Friday's open, after global equities slumped overnight and US stocks sank by the most since the "Black Monday" market crash in 1987.

SINGAPORE shares plunged at Friday's open, after global equities slumped overnight and US stocks sank by the most since the "Black Monday" market crash in 1987.

Over at the Singapore bourse, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) nosedived 132.56 points or 5 per cent to 2,546.08 as at 9am, creating a new 52-week low.

By 9.16am, the STI had sunk further to 2,513.34, down 165.30 points or 6.2 per cent. Decliners outnumbered advancers 295 to 29, with about 308.1 million securities worth S$369.6 million changing hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Singtel fell S$0.14 or 5.1 per cent to S$2.60, with five million shares traded, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding retreated S$0.05 or 6.3 per cent to S$0.75, with 4.3 million shares changing hands.

The trio of banking stocks also slumped in the early session of trading. DBS plunged S$1.15 or 5.7 per cent to S$19.05, United Overseas Bank dropped S$1.06 or 5.2 per cent to S$19.47, while OCBC Bank declined S$0.32 or 3.5 per cent to S$8.79.

Other active index securities included Ascendas Reit, which fell S$0.24 or 7.6 per cent to S$2.91, and ST Engineering, which lost S$0.28 or 7.3 per cent to S$3.57.

Amid a sea of red during the early trading session, Genting Singapore shed five Singapore cents or 7.2 per cent to 64.5 cents, while Singapore Airlines tumbled S$0.51 or 7 per cent to S$6.83.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted: "Between the lack of a strong US fiscal response and the latest travel ban for arrivals from Europe to the US, global markets appear to have been tipped over into a sell-everything mode. While Asia is expected to follow suit this Friday, US futures are signalling that the worst is not over yet."

She added that haven assets are not spared in the global sell-off and that volatility in the markets could sustain at least for the next month. 

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan's Topix shed 7 per cent, South Korea's Kospi tumbled 8 per cent, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 6.3 per cent.

Over in the US, Wall Street stocks suffered yet another bruising rout overnight, as President Donald Trump's latest attempt to address the novel coronavirus outbreak - banning entry from most European countries to the US - disappointed investors, who had expected the government to do more to bolster the economy.

At the closing bell on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 21,197.90, a loss of 2,352 points, while the broad-based S&P 500 plunged 9.5 per cent to 2,479.90 and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 9.5 per cent to 7,195.64.