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Singapore shares add 0.2% on Monday

FOLLOWING a dour May, the local benchmark index managed to register modest gains in the first trading session of June but trade worries and global growth concerns continue to hang over investor sentiment.

Tensions between the US and China are not showing signs of cooling. Washington has also ramped up its offensive on Mexico and also said that it would not offer preferential trade treatment to India from Wednesday, in a bid to pressure New Delhi to increase market access for US goods.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,123.46, up 5.70 points or 0.2 per cent. 

"The local benchmark index was noticeably oscillating near neutral throughout the day, with the sector performance mixed," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi observed.

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Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, equity markets were mixed. Australia, China and Japan posted losses. Malaysia and South Korea finished higher. Hong Kong was flat.

"The Caixin manufacturing PMI surprise coupled with the softening of the US dollar at the start of the week provided some breathing room for Asia markets that had led to the rather mixed bag we are seeing across the region," Ms Pan said.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.06 billion securities, 83 per cent daily average in the first four months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$880.80 million, 86 per cent above the January-to-April daily average.

CMC Markets' market analyst Margaret Yang noted that trading volumes remained low as "cautious sentiment and trade uncertainties kept investors and traders away from the market, inhibiting risk-taking activities".

Across the market, decliners outpaced advancers 210 to 143. The benchmark index fared better, having 12 of its 30 components in the red.

Genting Singapore was the benchmark index's most traded stock, with 29.7 million shares changing hands. The casino operator was unchanged at 87 Singapore cents.

The local banks were mixed. DBS Group Holdings ended S$0.23 or 0.9 per cent down at S$24.06. Meanwhile, OCBC Bank edged up two Singapore cents or 0.2 per cent higher at S$10.59 and United Overseas Bank closed at S$23.59, adding nine Singapore cents or 0.4 per cent.

Among non-STI counters, Indofood Agri Resources was one of the big gainers on the day. Its shares jumped five Singapore cents or 18.2 per cent to close at 32.5 cents after Indonesian instant noodle maker Indofood Sukses Makmur raised its buyout offer price for IndoAgri to 32.75 cents on Sunday.

Oil and gas company Rex International closed 0.3 Singapore cent or 5.2 per cent up at 6.1 cents.