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Singapore shares close flat on Friday

SHARE prices in the Singapore bourse spent much of the day underwater to finish Friday on a flat note.

The STI fell 0.7 point or 0.02 per cent to end the day at 3,427.5 with the losses led by banking stocks. Week-on-week, it lost 85.72 points or 2.4 per cent.

Some 2.2 billion shares worth S$1.38 billion changed hands versus Thursday's 2.7 billion shares worth S$3.5 billion. Losers outpaced gainers with 212 counters down and 195 counters up.

Asian markets were mixed with benchmark indices in Japan and China in the red while South Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia ended the week with gains.

Fears over the prospect of trade war rose after the US said it would impose metal tariffs on allies Europe, Mexico and Canada, which in turn vowed to retaliate.

Markets in Europe and the US slipped overnight as US President Donald Trump fanned fears over trade tensions while the Italian political crisis - a major spook factor mid-week - appeared to ease off.

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT) extended its losses, slipping 0.5 US cent or 1.8 per cent to 27 US cents. It lost 7 per cent the previous day on the back of MSCI's rebalancing - it was removed from MSCI Singapore Index and included in the MSCI Singapore Small Cap Index effective June 1. OCBC Investment Research expects volatility in the counter over the medium-term as HPHT is seen as a proxy to the US-China trade situation.

"Nonetheless, we believe that the current price point presents an important buying opportunity for investors," said the house, adding that the business trust looked "cheap" relative to its own fair value of 43 US cents and also that of Bloomberg consensus target price of 35 US cents.

Sabah-based timber firm Jawala International joined the Catalist for the first time today at 2pm, opening at 26.5 Singapore cents versus its offer price of 25 Singapore cents and finished the day at 26 Singapore cents.

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