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Singapore shares close 0.2% lower on Monday

MARKETS in Asia got the week off to a mixed start, with Japan and South Korea posting strong gains while Hong Kong and China edged lower on growth fears and profit-taking.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) started the week brightly, taking cues from the positive session on Wall Street last Friday. However, the benchmark index, which traded as high as 3,339 in the first hour, dipped as the session went to close at 3,325.86, 6.12 points or 0.2 per cent down.

Trading clocked in at 1.19 billion securities, about 94 per cent of the daily average over the first three months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$858.57 million, 84 per cent of the January-to-March daily average. 

CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang told The Business Times that the lower trading volume on Monday suggests "investors are waiting on the sidelines, looking to upcoming earnings of the big US banks".

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Advancers outnumbered decliners 211 to 186.  

Seventeen of the 30 blue chips that make up the STI ended in the red. 

Among them, Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded, slipping 0.5 Singapore cent or 0.5 per cent to end at S$0.96 with 29.1 million shares changing hands. The counter has shed 11.4 per cent since an increase in the casino entry levy and higher casino tax rates were announced, along with a S$4.5 billion reinvestment plan for Resorts World Sentosa.

Going by value of trades done, DBS Group Holdings saw S$68.32 million traded - 8 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded - across 2.53 million shares. The bank's shares closed three Singapore cents or 0.1 per cent higher at S$27.01.

The other local banks ended in the red. OCBC Bank closed seven Singapore cents or 0.6 per cent lower at S$11.67 while United Overseas Bank lost seven Singapore cents or 0.3 per cent to S$26.61.

Singtel continued to rally, edging up one Singapore cent or 0.3 per cent to S$3.17 on 19.2 million shares.

Among non-STI counters, Asian Pay Television Trust was the bourse's most traded and one of its main gainers on the day. The business trust that is focused on pay-TV businesses advanced 2.8 Singapore cents or 21.7 per cent to close at 15.7 cents on 50.1 million units traded.

Investor interest in the counter surged after its trustee-manager said it is undertaking an independent strategic review of the trust and its main asset, Taiwan Broadband Communications Group.