Singapore shares decline at Friday's open; STI down 0.3% to 3,152.25

The Singapore Exchange Centre in Shenton Way.

SINGAPORE - Singapore stocks opened weaker on Friday (May 24), with the Straits Times Index slipping 0.27 per cent or 8.47 points to 3,152.25 as at 9am, following a Wall Street sell-off overnight.

On the Singapore bourse, losers outnumbered gainers 73 to 30, or about five securities down for every two up, after 24.6 million securities worth $31.8 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Ascendas Reit headed down 0.3 per cent or one cent to $2.92 with 1.9 million shares traded, and Rex International Holding declined 3.2 per cent or 0.2 cent to six cents with 1.8 million shares traded.

Other active stocks included Sembcorp Marine, down 2.7 per cent or four cents to $1.43, and AEM Holdings, which lost 1.7 per cent or 1.5 cents to $0.855.

Over in New York, US stocks extended losses on Thursday after the latest flare up in US-China trade tensions damped investors' expectations of a near-term resolution between the world's two largest economies.

The Dow fell 1.1 per cent, the S&P 500 shed 1.2 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite gave up 1.6 per cent, reflecting fears the US-China trade war would hurt the technology sector.

This comes after China's commerce ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said the US should "correct its actions" if it hopes to continue trade negotiations with China, adding that the talks should be based on mutual respect.

The flight to the relative safety of government debt also pushed US Treasury yields to their lowest level since 2017 - a potential harbinger of further economic tumult, according to market analysts.

Elsewhere in Asia, shares hobbled near four-month lows on Friday, and crude oil plunged on worries the US-China trade spat was developing into a more entrenched strategic dispute, pushing investors to safe-haven assets, Reuters reported.

Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.9 per cent in the early trade, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan stood flat, and was on track for a third straight weekly loss, as it is down 0.9 per cent so far on the week.

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