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Singapore shares edge slightly higher on Friday; STI up 0.1% to 3,162.62

SINGAPORE shares inched slightly higher on Friday, though on reduced volumes following a lacklustre session for US shares. The Straits Times Index rose 0.1 per cent, or 3.82 points to 3,162.62 as at 9.02am. 

This comes after Wall Street stocks ended flat on Thursday, as investors lost their appetite in the afternoon trade, a day after the US central bank delivered a widely expected shot of stimulus. The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.2 per cent, erasing earlier gains in the day, while the broader S&P 500 was little changed, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite eked out a 0.1 per cent gain.

"No longer are investors happy with the Fed hitting the minimum of rate cut expectation, it appears they now demand a holiday surprise," Stephen Innes of AxiTrader said. 

On the Singapore bourse, gainers outnumbered losers 51 to 35, after about 29.6 million shares worth S$54 million changed hands. This volume was significantly lower as compared to Thursday's turnover of 50.5 million shares worth about S$51.6 million when the market opened. 

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Among the most heavily traded by volume, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding tumbled 1.9 per cent, or two cents to S$1.03, with 3.1 million shares traded; while Mapletree Logistics Trust gained 1.2 per cent, or two cents to S$1.63, with 2.2 million shares traded. 

The banking trio was in the green in the early morning trade - DBS rose 0.4 per cent, or 10 cents to S$25.10; United Overseas Bank gained 0.1 per cent, or two cents to S$25.72; and OCBC Bank was up 0.2 per cent, or two cents to S$10.93. 

Other active stocks included ST Engineering which fell 1.3 per cent, or five cents to S$3.87, and Singapore Post (SingPost) which advanced 1.6 per cent, or 1.5 cents to 93.5 cents.

On Thursday, mail and logistics firm SingPost announced that it has called off the sale of its beleaguered US e-commerce businesses, which will now seek bankruptcy protection instead.

Elsewhere, Asian equities opened with modest gains as markets digested increasingly dovish signals from multiple rate-setting decisions by central banks across the globe.

Japan's Topix advanced 0.3 per cent, while both South Korean and Australian stocks gained 0.1 per cent each. Futures on the S&P 500 were flat in the morning trade.