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Singapore shares end flat on Friday, down 1.1% on the week

TRADERS have a list of reasons to stay on the sidelines - and they did on Friday, ending the week on a sour note.

Concerns over US political developments following a whistleblower complaint against US President Donald Trump added to the trade uncertainty that has affected sentiment this week.

Analysts are watching closely to see if the impeachment inquiry might have ramifications for US-China trade talks.

A potential impeachment could exert more pressure on Mr Trump to strike a "mini-deal", suggested Bank of Singapore investment strategists Eli Lee and Conrad Tan. But the US leader could also play up trade conflict again to distract from the impeachment proceedings.

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Over the longer term, however, the strategists believe that a mini-deal will not eliminate US-China uncertainties across trade, technology and geopolitics.

Given the cloudy outlook and market risks at play, Bank of Singapore is sticking to its asset allocation strategy of "prudence". The wealth manager is overall underweight risk exposure, going for an allocation that's overweight cash, neutral weight on fixed income and underweight on equities.

On Friday, Singapore shares opened almost flat, with the Straits Times Index (STI) just 0.01 per cent higher.

Trading remained tepid for most of the afternoon, while the STI lost more ground. But last-ditch efforts in the final hour of trading helped local stocks claw back some gains.

The local bourse closed on Friday not much different than when it started - just 0.01 per cent or 0.18 points lower at 3,125.63.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 218 to 148, with 875.15 million shares worth S$842.07 million changing hands. Overall, shares finished about 1.08 per cent lower than last Friday's close of 3,159.68.

Much of Friday's activity on the bourse was dominated by penny stocks, but Singtel was also in play. The telco fell 0.32 per cent or S$0.01 to S$3.12 on a trade of close to 16 million shares.

Golden Agri-Resources continued to be one of the most traded stocks this week. The counter ended the day unchanged at S$0.23, with over 16 million shares changing hands.