SINGAPORE – Singapore shares opened markedly lower on Wednesday (Oct 2), with the Straits Times Index losing 0.6 per cent, or 18.64 points to 3,127.39 as at 9.01am.

This comes after Wall Street stocks sank overnight, as disappointing US manufacturing data stoked fears that the US economy could soon tip into recession. The broad-based S&P 500 shed 1.2 per cent, notching its biggest one-day fall since August, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 1.3 per cent, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.1 per cent.

Stephen Innes, AxiTrader Asia-Pacific market strategist said: “Yesterday’s price action highlights the significance of US manufacturing survey data as the slowdown in the critical sector is thought to sit atop the FOMC’s (Federal Open Market Committee) ‘wall of worry’.”

The ISM’s (Institute for Supply Management) index fell 1.3 points to 47.8 per cent in September, the lowest since June 2009, and well below the 50 rating that separates growth from contraction. The institute cited trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies as the biggest factor for the largest contraction since the end of the 2007-2009 recession.

On the Singapore bourse, losers outnumbered gainers 93 to 30, after about 28.9 million shares worth $47.3 million changed hands.

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding plunged 2 per cent, or two Singapore cents to 98 cents, with four million shares traded, while Singtel was flat at $3.13 with 2.8 million shares traded.

Financials also faltered in the morning trade – OCBC Bank tumbled 1.2 per cent, or 13 Singapore cents to $10.86, DBS slipped 0.7 per cent, or 18 cents to $25.06, and United Overseas Bank lost 0.5 per cent, or 12 cents to $25.78.

Other active index stocks included Venture which slid 1.3 per cent, or 21 cents to $15.61, and City Developments Limited which fell 1 per cent, or 10 cents to $9.71.

Bucking the downward trend however, were CapitaLand Commercial Trust which gained 0.5 per cent, or one cent to $2.09, and ComfortDelGro which added 0.4 per cent, or one cent to $2.42.

This comes after ComfortDelGro on Tuesday said its UK subsidiary, Metroline West, has inked agreements to sell a bus garage for £25 million (S$42.5 million), and buy an industrial property for £7 million.

Elsewhere, Asian equities also retreated as the dismal report on US manufacturing activity unnerved investors and boosted demand for haven assets.

Japan’s Topix index dropped 0.7 per cent as at 8.25am, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 1.4 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi declined 1 per cent.