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Singapore shares end flat on Friday, but up 0.3% on the week

MOST markets in Asia barely moved on Friday though they took early leads from a Wall Street rally that boosted investor confidence as attention slowly moved on to next week's round of US-China trade talks.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) ended slightly lower, down 1.55 points or 0.05 per cent to close at 3,212.10. On the week, the blue-chip index gained 11.92 points or 0.3 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,200.18. 

Trading clocked in at 825.53 million securities, about 60 per cent of the daily average over the first two months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$868.61 million, 85 per cent of the January-to-February daily average. Decliners outnumbered advancers 198 to 181. 

QT Vascular was the bourse's most active counter for a second successive session with 28.9 million shares traded. Shares in the balloon catheter specialist ended the session flat at 0.6 Singapore cent.

Sixteen of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the red. Among them, Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded. The casino operator ended the session one Singapore cent or 1 per cent down at S$1.03 with 20.9 million shares changing hands. 

Going by value of trades done, DBS Group Holdings saw S$62.23 million traded - 7.2 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded - across 2.45 million shares. The bank's shares closed four Singapore cents or 0.2 per cent down at S$25.35.

The other local banks also closed slightly lower on the day. OCBC Bank closed one Singapore cent or 0.1 per cent lower at S$11.16, while United Overseas Bank crept down one Singapore cent or 0.04 per cent to end at S$25.20. 

Among tech and semiconductor stocks, AEM Holdings gained five Singapore cents or 4.2 per cent to close at S$1.24. This follows news that the test-handling machine supplier has received sales orders worth S$174 million for delivery in FY2019. AEM previously said on Feb 22 when reporting FY2018 results that a total of S$140 million in sales orders had been received for FY2019 delivery.

SGX market strategist Geoff Howie noted that while AEM is a top 200 stock by market capitalisation, it ranks as a top 30 stock by traded value or turnover this week. 

Property developer Hong Fok, which received a query from the Singapore Exchange for "unusual price movements" in its shares recently, closed four Singapore cents or 4.3 per cent up at 97.5 cents. The stock has been on an ascent since March 5 when it was trading at 72.5 cents, except for a dip on Wednesday when it announced a fixed-income offering of S$100 million.

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