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Singapore shares end flat on Monday on lack of market cues

WITHOUT any developments from the US-China trade front as well as the US and UK markets being shut for holiday, regional markets lacked catalysts, with the local benchmark ending flat.

Even though Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) spent most of the session trading lower, the market recovered losses to settle at 3,170.77, down just 0.88 point.

Regional indices were mixed. Australia and South Korea were unchanged, Hong Kong was lower. Meanwhile, China, Japan and Malaysia ended higher. The Shanghai Composite Index posted the strongest gains, adding 1.4 per cent on the day.

"A quiet start to the week with little fresh impetus from the US-China trade situation or data updates had left the region in a mixed state," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi observed.

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In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 922.48 million securities or 73 per cent of the daily average in the first four months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$643.5 million, 63 per cent of the January-to-April daily average.

Across the market, decliners outpaced advancers 188 to 159. The benchmark index had 12 of the STI's 30 components trading in the red.

Among them, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the benchmark index's most traded stock, with 20.6 million shares changing hands. The shipbuilder closed flat at S$1.37.

Banking stocks were mixed. DBS Group Holdings closed S$0.14 or 0.6 per cent down at S$25.06 and OCBC Bank edged down two Singapore cents or 0.2 per cent to S$10.99. Meanwhile, United Overseas Bank continued to trend up, finishing at S$24.70, gaining six Singapore cents or 0.2 per cent.

Among pennies, ISR Capital, which is on the Singapore Exchange's watchlist, was the bourse's most heavily traded counter. 84.5 million shares in the consultancy and investment management firm were traded as they gained a tick to close at 0.3 Singapore cent. The majority of the counter's trading volume came from a 66 million share purchase at 0.3 cent, shortly after the opening bell.

Prior to market open, ISR said that it has been granted a further extension to hold its annual general meeting for fiscal 2018 by June 29.

Penguin International, which conducts the building, repair, maintenance and chartering of vessels, saw its shares add 0.5 Singapore cent or 1.1 per cent to close at S$0.45, on heavier-than-usual trading.

On Friday, CGS-CIMB initiated coverage on Penguin with an "add" call and a target price of S$0.72, with analyst Cezzane See saying that the company is profitable and valuations for the company are cheap compared to its local peers.