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Singapore shares end flat on Friday, up 1.8% on the week

SENTIMENT in the local market was generally risk-off on Friday. Investors took to profit-taking on property-related counters that have rallied and dips on stocks with heavier exposures to Hong Kong, which saw the blue-chip index nearly unchanged.

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,222.63, up 1.97 points or 0.06 per cent on Friday. On the week, the benchmark index advanced 56.34 points or 1.8 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,166.29.

Among other Asia-Pacific markets, Australia and Japan were up, while China, Hong Kong and Malaysia were down. The Hang Seng dropped 0.7 per cent on Friday, weighed down by the double whammy of weak Chinese industrial production data and effects of the protests in the territory.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 773.11 million securities, 65 per cent of the daily average in the first five months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$893.30 million, 86 per cent of the January-to-May daily average.

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Across the market, decliners pipped advancers 208 to 170. Meanwhile, the benchmark index had 11 of the STI's 30 components in the red. 

On 23.2 million shares traded, Genting Singapore was the benchmark index's most traded stock. The casino operator gained 0.5 Singapore cent or 0.6 per cent to 88.5 cents.

Ranging oil prices and the risk-off sentiment in the market on Friday saw offshore and marine counters underperform the local benchmark for the most part.

Sembcorp Industries edged down one cent or 0.4 per cent to S$2.37 and Sembcorp Marine dipped two cents or 1.3 per cent to S$1.47. Meanwhile, Keppel Corp was flat at S$6.30.

Black gold headed south on Wednesday following US stockpile increases but reversed those dips a day later on supply concerns emanating from the attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Expectedly, the US blamed Iran for the attacks. Tehran has called the timing of the attacks "suspicious".

Property counters and real estate investment trusts (Reits) were mostly up this week on growing expectations of a rate cut by the US Federal Reserve. Investors are also looking to next week's Fed meeting where chairman Jerome Powell could shed further light on future rate cuts.  

Reits, which had been investors' main picks in recent sessions due to dovish Fed rate hike expectations, saw profit-taking activity on Friday.

CapitaLand Commercial Trust dropped two cents or 1 per cent to S$2.06 while Mapletree Logistics Trust edged down one cent or 0.6 per cent to S$1.57.

Among property developers, City Developments Limited shed six cents or 0.6 per cent to end at S$9.36. The mainboard-listed company caught much attention this week, with the market taking positively to its second takeover offer for its London-listed subsidiary Millennium & Copthorne hotels (M&C) with a higher cash offer of 685 pence per share. The counter is up 10.5 per cent on the week.