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

SINGAPORE'S Straits Times Index (STI) managed to close in positive territory on Friday during a mixed session of trading in Asia.

The local blue-chip index, like many others in the region, opened lower following a Thursday session on Wall Street that was a mixed bag but made gains towards the end of the session to close at 3,356.95, up 6.67 points or 0.2 per cent.

On the week, the benchmark index added 9.37 points or 0.3 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,347.58.

Trading clocked in at 951.06 million securities, three-quarters of the daily average over the first three months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.04 billion, 1.5 per cent over the January-to-March daily average.

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Across the market, advancers slightly outpaced decliners 195 to 191.  

Compared to the broader market, the benchmark index fared better on the day, with 22 of the STI's 30 components ending in the black.

Among them, Genting Singapore was the blue-chip index's most traded. The casino operator closed at S$0.97, up 0.5 cent or 0.5 per cent, with 29.7 million shares changing hands.

The three local banks, which are set to release their earnings for the first quarter in the next two weeks, outperformed the index on the day. The trio have a combined weighting of around 40 per cent of the STI.

On Thursday, Venture Corporation posted a net profit of S$90.9 million, up 8.6 per cent on the year-ago period, in line with street expectations. Revenue rose 8.5 per cent to S$928.8 million.

But that did not stop shares in the electronics services firm from falling S$1.77 or 9.2 per cent to close at S$17.52, as the market was more concerned with near-term implications that the company could face "performance volatility" due to some customers' product transitions. 

A trader that The Business Times spoke to felt that given the near-term volatility, "it would be safer to book profits".

Analysts were mixed on the outlook of the electronics services firm.

Penny play was active during Friday's session, with Nam Cheong Limited the bourse's most active counter with 38.5 million shares traded. Shares in the offshore vessel builder closed 0.2 Singapore cent or 22.2 per cent higher at 1.1 cents.

Among non-STI counters, AEM Holdings, which surged 10.5 per cent on Thursday following an announcement that its sales orders have surpassed the amounts announced in previous months, closed one cent or 0.9 per cent lower at S$1.15.