Singapore shares decline at Tuesday's open; STI down 0.2% to 3,199.84

The Singapore Exchange Centre in Shenton Way. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore stocks opened weaker on Tuesday (May 31), with the Straits Times Index retreating 0.18 per cent or 5.62 points to 3,199.84 as at 9.02am, after tech stocks dragged Wall Street lower overnight.

Shares of tech companies sank in New York on Monday, after Google began to sever ties with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, amid the US-China trade war. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 1.5 per cent to 7,702.38, with chip companies that do business with Huawei among the hardest hit.

Closer to home in Singapore, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Monday downgraded its growth forecast for the year to 1.5 to 2.5 per cent on the back of a weak global trade outlook, from an earlier 1.5 to 3.5 per cent. This comes as the economy saw growth of 1.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, coming in a notch lower than earlier estimates of 1.3 per cent, and revised figures from Q4 2018. This was also below economists' expectations of 1.5 per cent.

On the Singapore bourse, losers outnumbered gainers 87 to 44, after about 73.4 million securities worth $86.2 million exchanged hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, JCG Investment was flat at 0.2 cent with 30 million shares traded, and Nico Steel was trading at 0.4 cent, down 20 per cent or 0.1 cent, with 4 million shares traded.

Banking stocks also slipped in the early trade - OCBC lost 0.5 per cent or five cents to $11.10, UOB fell 0.3 per cent or eight cents to $24.90, and DBS was down 0.1 per cent or two cents to $25.87 on an ex-dividend basis.

Other active stocks included YZJ Shipbuilding which dropped 2.7 per cent or four cents to $1.43, and ST Engineering which bucked the trend at $3.95, up 1.3 per cent or five cents.

Tech stocks also took a beating with Hi-P falling 3.9 per cent or five cents to $1.23, and UMS losing 2.4 per cent or 1.5 cents to $0.605.

Elsewhere in Asia, most stocks tracked losses in US markets to open lower on Tuesday as investors digested moves by the Trump administration against Huawei Technologies Co. Japan's Topix index fell 0.5 per cent as of 9.14am in Tokyo, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.4 per cent, while South Korea's Kospi index added 0.2 per cent.

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