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STI tumbles 1.10% as investors remain spooked by lockdowns, US election uncertainty

SINGAPORE shares extended its losses on Friday, capping a bruising week riddled with consternation amid a renewed Covid-19 wave in US and Europe, lockdown fears and US pre-election jitters. Investors were too spooked to even cheer Wall Street's big tech bounce overnight.

The key Straits Times Index tumbled 26.84 points or 1.10 per cent to 2,423.84 to log a five-day losing streak. Week-on-week, the STI has tumbled nearly 114 points or 4.5 per cent; and for the year, the barometer is in the red by 25 per cent.

Regional bourses were awashed in deep red on Friday as risk-off sentiments dominated trading. Key gauges in Japan and China fell 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong retreated nearly 2 per cent while Malaysia and Taiwan dipped 1.9 per cent and 1 per cent respectively. The day's biggest loser was South Korea with its sharpest loss for the month of 2.6 per cent.

After a significant sell-off the previous day, US stocks rallied overnight, fuelled by stronger-than-expected Q3 gross domestic product data and as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google and Twitter released stellar quarterly results.

Volatility however has risen. VIX - the stock market's fear gauge which has been below the pandemic-era average of 30 for the past six weeks - hit above the psychologically-important 40 mark prior to Thursday. Ahead of Nov 3, analysts are not ruling out that the VIX could break past this level given the stimulus impasse, rising infections and the real chance of a disputed election results.

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Overall trading volume in the Singapore market stood at 1.72 billion shares worth S$1.91 billion. Among the STI constituents, merely one counter was up - Keppel Corp - and 28, down.

Keppel far outperformed the STI, jumping 12 Singapore cents or nearly 3 per cent to S$4.39. Its quarterly business update on Thursday after trading hours showed that the conglomerate has turned the corner sequentially in the third quarter after posting record losses in the preceding period.

Nanofilm Technologies, the tech unicorn that counts Temasek Holdings as a substantial shareholder, finished its maiden day at S$2.91 - up 32 Singapore cents or 12.3 per cent from its initial public offering (IPO) price. The counter was the day's third most active with 107 million shares worth S$298 million traded.

Starhill Global Reit dipped 0.5 Singapore cent or 1.2 per cent to 41.5 Singapore cents. The real estate investment trust, which owns interest in Wisma Atria and Ngee Ann City - two "trophy assets" at the heart of Singapore's Orchard Road - as well as has assets abroad, reported a 10.3 per cent lower revenue for the first quarter to S$43.1 million while net property income (NPI) fell 19.2 per cent to S$29.8 million.

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