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Singapore shares extend losses on Friday, end little moved on the week

NEWS developments on Thursday that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has worked out a Brexit deal with the European Union and strong earnings on Wall Street could have guided sentiment towards a positive end to the week.

Instead, growth issues were the chief concern after China's Q3 gross domestic product (GDP) print missed estimates, hitting its weakest reading since 1992 as growth slowed to 6 per cent.

On Friday, the Straits Times Index (STI) opened 0.1 per cent lower, and built on losses during the session to close at 3,114.16, dropping 11.98 points or 0.4 per cent. Despite market sentiment being sent on another rollercoaster ride this week, the blue-chip index was little moved from last Friday's close of 3,113.97.

Among other Asia-Pacific indices, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Korea finished lower. The Shanghai Composite Index had its worst showing in a month after the bleak GDP data release, shedding 39.19 points or 1.3 per cent to end at 2,938.14.

Japan's Nikkei 225 bucked the regional trend, putting on gains after tech companies jumped on upbeat earnings from Taiwan's TSMC.

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The Chinese growth print may have been a disappointment but for what it's worth, the other Chinese economic data releases of the day - industrial production (IP) and retail sales - beat expectations. IP continued to be driven by infrastructure spending while retail sales were boosted by essential item purchases.

"While risk assets are not flashing all green, markets can breathe a sigh of relief. At least for Friday, markets have dodged a massive macro bullet out of China," AxiTrader Asia-Pacific market strategist Stephen Innes said of Friday's data dump.

In Singapore, trading volume stood at 1.18 billion securities, in line with the daily average from the first nine months of 2019. Meanwhile, total turnover clocked in at S$901.80 million, 85 per cent of the January-to-September daily average.

Across the market, decliners beat advancers 208 to 150. Nineteen of the blue-chip index's 30 counters ended in the red.

Thai Beverage was the STI's most active counter with 26.3 million shares traded. The counter added 2.5 Singapore cents or 2.9 per cent to 90 cents.

Keppel Corp fell S$0.13 or 2.2 per cent to S$5.83 after announcing on Thursday that third-quarter net profit fell 30 per cent to S$159 million from a restated S$227 million a year ago amid an absence of divestment gains.

Singapore's banking trio ended lower. DBS Group Holdings closed down S$0.16 or 0.6 per cent to S$24.78, OCBC Bank dipped S$0.11 or 1 per cent to S$10.74, while United Overseas Bank closed at S$25.82, down S$0.20 or 0.8 per cent.

Among telcos, Singtel edged down one Singapore cent or 0.3 per cent to S$3.15 while Starhub notched up one Singapore cent or 0.8 per cent to S$1.29.

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