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Singapore shares extend dip on Friday, down 1.6% on the week

THE adage of "sell in May and go away" certainly held up in 2019, and for good measure, investors were dealt another blow on Friday thanks to Washington's tariff threat on Mexico and disappointing Chinese manufacturing figures.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,117.76, down 25.24 points or 0.8 per cent. On the week, the benchmark index dropped 52.13 points or 1.6 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,169.89. The STI has lost 9.1 per cent or 282.44 points in May.

Regional markets were mixed. Australia, Malaysia and South Korea ended higher. China, Hong Kong and Japan were lower.

Market watchers noted that of more consequence to the region were China's official purchasing managers index (PMI) figures, released shortly after market open. Non-manufacturing PMI came in level with the street's estimates. While the street expected manufacturing to contract, the 49.4 posted was more than expected.

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Trading clocked in at 926.13 million securities or 73 per cent of the daily average in the first four months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.22 billion, 19 per cent above the January-to-April daily average.

Across the market, decliners beat advancers 227 to 152. Meanwhile, the benchmark index had 18 of the STI's 30 components trading in the red. 

Singtel, unchanged at S$3.20, was the benchmark index's most traded stock with 27.1 million shares changing hands. The telco has outperformed the STI in recent sessions, as investors appear to be shifting to more defensively positioned equity portfolios.

The banking trio continued to slide. DBS Group Holdings shed S$0.31 or 1.3 per cent to S$24.29, OCBC Bank dropped S$0.17 or 1.6 per cent  at S$10.57 and United Overseas Bank finished S$0.39 or 1.6 per cent lower at S$23.50.

Among the bright spots on an otherwise gloomy day for equities, Creative Technology shares leapt S$0.51 or 14.8 per cent to S$3.95 after revealing that it is in works with Clevo - a Taiwanese OEM computer manufacturer - to integrate its Super X-Fi technology into Clevo’s next generation gaming laptops. On 837,500 shares traded, volume was around 6.5 times more than the daily average over the last 15 trading days.

On Friday, Alliance Healthcare Group closed its first day on the Singapore bourse's Catalist board at 20.5 Singapore cents, its open price, with 2.8 million shares traded. Shares in the integrated healthcare group had spent most of the trading day at 20 cents - its initial public offering price.