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Singapore shares end 0.2% higher on Thursday

MOST markets in Asia rose on Thursday after a dovish Federal Reserve indicated that there would be no more rate hikes this year. The Fed also lowered its outlook on US economic growth and concerns over US-China trade talks and slowing global growth.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) ended Thursday's session gaining 5.99 points or 0.2 per cent to close at 3,213.65.

Trading clocked in at 1.03 billion securities, about 74 per cent of the daily average over the first two months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$947.97 million, 93 per cent of the January-to-February daily average. Advancers outnumbered decliners 192 to 170.

QT Vascular was the bourse's most active counter with 83.5 million shares traded. Shares in the balloon catheter specialist ended the session flat at 0.6 Singapore cent.   

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Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded. The casino operator ended the session three Singapore cents or 3 per cent higher at S$1.04 with 53.9 million shares changing hands. 

Going by value of trades done, DBS Group Holdings saw S$73.21 million traded - 7.7 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded - across 2.88 million shares. The bank's shares gained four Singapore cents or 0.2 per cent to close at S$25.39. 

The other local banks were in the red. OCBC Bank closed nine Singapore cents or 0.8 per cent lower at S$11.18, while United Overseas Bank ended nine Singapore cents or 0.4 per cent down at S$25.21.

Despite global growth concerns having weighed on investors' minds, a dovish Fed played a part in a softer US Dollar, which saw oil prices hit a five-month high during Thursday's session. The effect was mixed for oil and gas counters. Rex International added 0.1 Singapore cent or 1.2 per cent to close at 8.1 cents and SHS Holdings crept up 0.1 Singapore cent or 0.5 per cent at 19.3 cents.

Meanwhile, KrisEnergy closed flat at 5.3 Singapore cents and GSS Energy finished 0.1 Singapore cent or 0.9 per cent lower at 10.4 cents.

Among big gainers on the day was Mainboard-listed Chuan Hup Holdings, which advanced four Singapore cents or 11.9 per cent to close at 37.5 cents. The counter surged in early trading and saw stronger-than-usual activity following a proposed special dividend of nine Singapore cents per share - subject to shareholder approval - that would be distributed after the company disposes its stake in PCI Limited.