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Singapore shares end flat on Tuesday on profit-taking, growth concerns

SINGAPORE equities got the week off to a flying start following a surprise outcome from the Osaka meeting between the US and China. But Monday's gains were followed by Tuesday's flat session.

Investors preferred to book profits as the case for a fading global outlook was beefed up by disappointing economic data from the US and China. The Straits Times Index (STI) finished 1.46 points or 0.04 per cent lower at 3,370.80.

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi told The Business Times that in the early session, the STI was "being suppressed on profit-taking and the revival of concerns on trade tensions and their implications on economic performance".

It was a mixed bag across the Asia-Pacific. Markets in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia closed higher. Meanwhile, China and South Korea ended lower.

The Hang Seng Index resumed trading on Tuesday and closed at 28,875.56, up 332.94 points or 1.2 per cent, playing catch-up on the global rally while it was away for the observance of the Special Administrative Region Establishment Day.

The 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule in 1997 will mostly be remembered for protesters breaking into the Hong Kong government's legislature building.

"After yesterday's (Monday's) holiday and with the Hang Seng in full catch-up mode post-G-20, one could only speculate where the markets would be if there wasn't chaos in the street overnight," Vanguard Markets managing partner Stephen Innes noted.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.05 billion securities, 88 per cent of the daily average in the first five months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$973.56 million, 93 per cent of the January-to-May daily average.

Across the market, decliners trumped advancers 217 to 174. Fourteen of the STI's 30 components finished in the red.

The local banks closed lower. DBS Group Holdings edged down S$0.10 or 0.4 per cent to S$26.50, OCBC Bank was S$0.05 or 0.4 per cent down at S$11.54 while United Overseas Bank finished at S$26.55, down S$0.06 or 0.2 per cent.

The cyclically-sensitive manufacturing and semiconductor sector, which outperformed the STI on Monday, also ended lower.

Venture Corporation shares dropped S$0.32 or 1.9 per cent at S$16.68, Hi-P International lost S$0.03 or 2 per cent to S$1.44 and AEM Holdings was down S$0.02 or 1.9 per cent to S$1.06.

On 26.1 million shares changing hands, casino operator Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded, closing unchanged at S$0.935.