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

MARKETS in Asia opened lower on Friday, following a lacklustre overnight session on Wall Street but most benchmark indices in the region managed to close in the black following encouraging March trade data from China.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) appeared slightly weighed down by lower-than-expected advanced first-quarter estimates in the early session. The blue-chip index managed to improve on the China trade figures release, building on the gains in the last hour of trading to close at 3,331.98, up just 1.16 points or 0.03 per cent.

On the week, the blue-chip index managed to eke out 9.34 points or a 0.3 per cent gain from last Friday's close of 3,322.64.

Trading clocked in at 1.25 billion securities, just under the daily average over the first three months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$870.20 million, 85 per cent of the January-to-March daily average. Across the market, decliners outpaced advancers 217 to 201. 

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Fourteen of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the black.

Genting Singapore continued to be the blue-chip index's most traded, ending the session flat at 96.5 cents with 43.4 million shares changing hands. The counter has shed 10.8 per cent since an increase in the casino entry levy and higher casino tax rates were announced, along with a S$4.5 billion reinvestment plan for Resorts World Sentosa. 

Going by value of trades done, DBS Group Holdings saw S$70.42 million traded - 8.1 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded - across 2.62 million shares. The bank's shares closed five Singapore cents or 0.2 per cent higher at S$26.98.

The other local banks also outperformed the index. OCBC Bank edged up one cent or 0.1 per cent to S$11.74, while United Overseas Bank ended S$0.15 or 0.6 per cent higher at S$26.68.

Penny play was active during Friday's session, with Jiutian Chemical the bourse's most active counter with 50.3 million shares traded. Shares in the manufacturer of chemical-based products added 0.3 cent or 16.7 per cent to close at 2.1 cents.

Among non-STI counters, Best World International slipped S$0.17 or 8.8 per cent to close at S$1.77, with 9.05 million shares changing hands.