SINGAPORE – Singapore shares started on weaker ground in early trading on Friday (Aug 16), extending their losses from the previous day’s close, following a drop in Singapore’s non-oil domestic exports (Nodx).

The Straits Times Index dipped 0.63 per cent or 19.71 points to 3,106.38 as at 9.02am.

Losers outpaced gainers 74 to 42, with 35.3 million securities worth $66.1 million changing hands.

The most heavily traded counter was Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which recovered on Friday morning after selloffs in the stock earlier this month. Yangzijiang gained 4.07 per cent or 3.5 cents to 89.5 cents with 3.5 million shares traded as at 9.01am. Its shares had plunged 18 cents or 17.3 per cent to $0.86 on Thursday amid hefty turnover of 129.3 million shares.

Other actives by volume included Thai Beverage which fell 0.55 per cent or 0.5 cent to $0.90 with 2.6 million shares changing hands as at 9.01am, and Seroja Investments which surged 115.6 per cent or 3.7 cents to 6.9 cents with 1.4 million shares traded. Watch-listed Seroja had said on Thursday night that it will sell its entire operating business for U$32.2 million and become a cash company.

Banking stocks all began in negative territory. DBS lost 0.41 per cent or 10 cents to $24.60, OCBC slipped 0.75 per cent or eight cents to $10.62, while UOB dropped 0.72 per cent or 18 cents to $24.97 as at 9.01am.

Active index securities included Singtel which was flat at $3.23, and ST Engineering which gained 0.25 per cent or one cent to $4.08.

Delong inched up 0.14 per cent or one cent to $6.99 as at 9.01am. This comes after the steelmaker said on Friday morning that it lost its public float. The offeror for Delong had amassed 90.73 per cent in shares and valid acceptances as at 5.30pm on Thursday.

Figures released early on Friday morning showed Singapore’s Nodx continuing to fall in July, albeit less sharply than the previous two months. Nodx slipped 11.2 per cent last month, against a 15.4 per cent median estimate by economists, after tumbling 16.3 per cent year on year in May and 17.4 per cent in June.

The Singapore bourse’s losses at Friday’s open run counter to the overnight gains in the US. The S&P 500 and the Dow gained ground in a late rally on Thursday as upbeat retail sales data offset recessionary fears amid the simmering US-China trade tensions.

Wall Street zig-zagged from red to black and back much of the day as investors juggled mixed messages of a strong consumer and dropping US Treasury yields. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq closed lower on Thursday, weighed by a plunge in the shares of Cisco Systems.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks also opened lower on Friday, amid dampened hopes of an early settlement of the US-China trade war.