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Singapore shares dip on Friday, up 1.4% on the week

THE local bourse finished the session lower with investors getting ready for Friday's release of US jobs data, which is expected to guide market expectations of the degree of the US Federal Reserve's dovish stance.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,366.81, down 5.44 points or 0.2 per cent on Friday. On the week, the benchmark index is up 45.20 points or 1.4 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,321.61.

Across the Asia-Pacific, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia ended lower. Hong Kong closed flat.

Vanguard Markets managing partner Stephen Innes noted that investors were looking to Friday's US deluge of job data for June, which includes non-farm payrolls. Being the last jobs data release before the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting, he added that most economists are of the view that the report takes on added significance.

"If Friday's non-farm payroll report comes in with a big miss, it might catalyse some short US dollar activities as it not only signals weakness in the fundamentals, but will also urge the Fed to take on accommodative monetary policies. On the other hand, if the jobs data beats expectations and is on the upside, the reverse is likely to happen and the US dollar may jump," CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said.

In Singapore, trading volume on Friday clocked in at 1.34 billion securities, 12 per cent above the daily average in the first five months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.23 billion, 18 per cent over the January-to-May daily average.

Across the market, advancers pipped decliners 219 to 204. The benchmark index had 12 of the STI's 30 components in the red.

Financials underperformed the blue-chip index on Friday. DBS Group Holdings dropped S$0.43 or 1.6 per cent at S$25.63, United Overseas Bank finished S$0.21 or 0.8 per cent lower at S$26.26 while OCBC Bank ended at S$11.39, down S$0.10 or 0.9 per cent.

On 58.2 million shares traded, Thai Beverage was the blue-chip index's most active, closing three Singapore cents or 3.6 per cent higher at 86.5 cents. Much of the activity was mostly down to interest in the counter after news reports suggested that ThaiBev could be a potential partner of brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev's Asia-Pacific business.

The US brewer is seeking to raise up to US$9.8 billion in Hong Kong for its regional business, which would make it the year's largest initial public offering globally.

Also garnering much attention was SIA Engineering, which extended strong gains from Thursday's session on the possibility of privatisation by parent company Singapore Airlines. SIA Engineering closed S$0.17 or 6.3 per cent higher at S$2.89 on 11 million shares traded.