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Singapore shares close 0.2% lower on Tuesday, bucking regional trend

REGIONAL markets drummed to their own beat in a Tuesday session that lacked market catalysts, with the Singapore bourse closing lower, weighed down by financials.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,165.32, down 5.45 points or 0.2 per cent. Elsewhere in Asia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea closed higher.

"Against the backdrop of a lack of reaction towards US President Donald Trump's words (on not being ready to make a trade deal with China) and the vacuum of leads, the local STI had largely waffled along," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted.

"It had also been a mixed bag between sectors with no clear indication of changes in risk sentiment despite Mr Trump's seeming threat of the potential for more tariffs on Chinese imports to come along."

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In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 929.37 million securities or 73 per cent of the daily average in the first four months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.74 billion, 70 per cent above the January-to-April daily average.

Across the market, advancers outpaced decliners 188 to 177. The benchmark index had 12 of the STI's 30 components trading in the red.

Genting Singapore was the benchmark index's most traded stock, with 27.2 million shares changing hands. The casino operator's shares gained one Singapore cent or 1.1 per cent to close at S$0.89.

Traders told The Business Times that Genting Singapore was oversold by investors since posting first-quarter earnings on May 9, and share performance on Tuesday may have been supported by Asian markets rebounding and more awareness of the company confirming last Thursday its bid to develop Japan's integrated resort in Osaka.

Financials weighed on the STI's performance on Tuesday. DBS Group Holdings closed 10 Singapore cents or 0.4 per cent lower at S$24.96, OCBC Bank dropped five Singapore cents or 0.5 per cent to S$10.94 while United Overseas Bank pared gains from recent sessions to end at S$24.31, down 39 Singapore cents or 1.6 per cent.

Meanwhile, shares in bourse operator Singapore Exchange shed S$0.20 or 2.6 per cent to close at S$7.42.

Telcos also saw their shares close in negative territory. Singtel slid to trade three Singapore cents or 1 per cent lower at S$3.14 and StarHub retreated two Singapore cents or 1.3 per cent to end at S$1.49.

On Monday, fellow mobile network operator M1 revealed that it will replace its existing 19 mobile plans with one base plan each for SIM-only and handset bundles from Tuesday.