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Singapore shares drop 0.5% on Monday on weak regional sentiment

MOST Asian benchmarks - Singapore's included - got the week started in negative territory. Weak sentiment reigned thanks to a combination of escalating protests in Hong Kong, low expectations from the upcoming US-China trade talks and growth prospects.

The US Federal Reserve's upcoming meeting where rate cuts are expected had little effect on markets.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) ended the Monday session at 3,346.39, down 17.4 points or 0.5 per cent.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, stocks fell in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. Australia bucked the trend, adding 0.5 per cent as tech and financial plays lifted the ASX 200.

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In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.3 billion securities, 9 per cent over the daily average in the first six months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$888.14 million, 84 per cent of the January-to-June daily average.

Across the broader market, decliners beat advancers 238 to 170. Meanwhile, the blue-chip index had 24 of its 30 components closing in the red.

On 19 million shares traded, Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most active, ending 0.5 Singapore cent or 0.5 per cent lower at S$0.94. The casino operator will be reporting earnings for the quarter ended June 30 after Friday's market close.

DBS Group Holdings, which posted Q2 earnings that beat street expectations before Monday's trading session commenced, ended S$0.24 or 0.9 per cent lower at S$26.64.

DBS shares opened higher before investors booked profits following a positive results showing, where second-quarter net profit before one-time items rose 17 per cent to S$1.6 billion from S$1.37 billion a year ago. The growth in bottom line was attributed to higher total income as business momentum from the first quarter was sustained into April-June period.

The other local banks also returned from the weekend lower. OCBC Bank slipped S$0.05 or 0.4 per cent to S$11.71 and United Overseas Bank traded at S$26.74, down S$0.19 or 0.7 per cent. Both banks will report earnings for the second quarter on Friday.

Among property related counters, City Developments Limited (CDL) streaked ahead, closing S$0.12 or 1.3 per cent up at S$9.61. Interest in the counter picked up after 375 of 820 units in CDL and TID developed executive condominium Piermont Grand were sold over the launch weekend.