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Singapore shares end the week in the black, STI up 0.62%

SINGAPORE shares extended their gains on Friday to end the week in the black, with the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) gaining 0.62 per cent or 17.55 points to end at 2,839.89.

Among the STI constituents, City Developments emerged as top performer, gaining 4.56 per cent or S$0.35 to end at S$8.03.

Retail counter CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust came in third on the performance table, after rising 3.13 per cent or S$0.06 to close at S$1.98.

According to the Singapore Department of Statistics on Friday, the decline in Singapore's retail sales slowed in October, with takings down 8.6 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y).

On a seasonally adjusted month-on-month (m-o-m) basis, retail sales edged up 0.2 per cent in October.

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Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank, said the m-o-m improvement "marks a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel".

"Retail sales may only revert back to positive y-o-y growth territory in early 2021 ... Q2 2021 retail sales will also likely see a big jump due to the very low base this year inflicted by the circuit breaker period in Q2 2020," she added.

The trio of banks also made gains on Friday. UOB gained 0.35 per cent to close at S$23.05, while DBS closed up 0.31 per cent at S$25.66. OCBC inched up 0.3 per cent to end at S$10.10.

Advancers outnumbered decliners 257 to 152 for the day, with some 1.82 billion securities worth S$1.22 billion changing hands.

Across the region, Asian markets mostly ended the week in positive territory.

South Korean shares continued their bullish run on Friday, with the benchmark Kospi closing up 1.31 per cent or 35.23 points at 2,731.45, marking a fourth straight day of gains.

The Hang Seng Index also rose 0.4 per cent or 107.42 points to close at 26,835.92, while the Shanghai Composite Index inched up 0.07 per cent or 2.45 points to end at 3,444.58.

Meanwhile, the Nikkei 225 Index was down 0.22 per cent or 58.13 points to end at 26,751.24.

As positive developments continue to take place on the vaccine front, Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC, said in a note on Friday that this should "lead to a swift normalisation in economic activity, pulling us out of an extraordinarily deep recession".

He added: "The recovery in 2021 will be led by services, not manufacturing. And that matters for Asia where the latter generally plays a bigger role."

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