Singapore shares fall at Tuesday's open, extending global losses; STI down 0.4%

The Straits Times Index fell 0.4 per cent, or 13.42 points, to 3,174.40 as at 9.03am. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singapore shares started the week lower on Tuesday (March 8), extending losses in the regional and global markets as the Russian-Ukraine crisis continues to weigh on investors.

Russia said on Monday that all corporate deals with companies and individuals from so-called "unfriendly countries" - including Singapore - would now have to be approved by a government commission, according to a government resolution.

The Straits Times Index (STI) fell 0.4 per cent, or 13.42 points, to 3,174.40 as at 9.03am. Losers outnumbered gainers 90 to 56, after 89.8 million securities worth $98 million changed hands.

Sembcorp Marine continued to be the most actively traded counter by volume at the market open, with about 24.4 million shares changing hands. The counter rose 1 per cent, or 0.1 cent, to 9.7 cents.

Oil-related stocks were among the top four most heavily traded. Golden Agri-Resources was up 1.6 per cent, or 0.5 cent, at 31.5 cents, with five million shares traded. RH PetroGas surged 3.7 per cent, or 1.5 cents, to 42.5 cents, with 4.2 million shares traded. Rex International held steady at 48 cents.

Among index stocks, Singapore Airlines dropped 0.8 per cent, or four cents, to $4.93, while Singtel was trading 0.4 per cent, or one cent, higher at $2.52.

The trio of local banks was down in early trade. DBS fell 0.6 per cent, or 18 cents, to $31.73, UOB sank 1.1 per cent, or 32 cents, to $28.80, while OCBC dropped 0.5 per cent, or six cents, to $11.42.

In the United States, stocks plunged on Monday amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict and mounting concerns that spiking commodity prices will slow the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 2.4 per cent to finish at 32,817.38. The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 3 per cent to end at 4,201.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3.6 per cent to 12,830.96.

European stocks ended above session lows on Monday, helped by a 4.3 per cent rally in energy stocks as oil prices rose above US$130 a barrel. However, inflation fears saw German and Italian shares confirm a bear market.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index dropped was down 1.1 per cent, with banking and auto stocks leading declines.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks opened lower on Tuesday amid investor worries over surging oil prices and uncertainties surrounding Russia and Ukraine.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index sank 1.2 per cent to 24,913.90, while the broader Topix index dropped 1.2 per cent to 1,772.99.

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