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Singapore shares fall on Friday, down 1.7% on the week

It was another topsy turvy week of trading in Asia with the focus still on global recessionary concerns and trade disputes even as strong US retail sales data for July may have eased worries on Wall Street. That said, investors here and in the region did take the opportunity to pick up some oversold counters as the week progressed.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) continued to trend downward, though the index ate away at a one per cent opening loss to close at 3,115.03, down 11.06 points or 0.4 per cent. For the week, the benchmark index lost 53.91 points or 1.7 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,168.94.

Equity markets were a mixed bag elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, as shares in Australia and South Korea were lower and Malaysia was barely moved. China, Hong Kong and Japan posted gains.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.47 billion securities, 23 per cent more than daily average in the first seven months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.19 billion, 12 per cent over the January-to-July daily average.

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Across the market, decliners edged out advancers 202 to 191. The blue-chip index had 14 of the 30 counters closing in the red.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which slid 17.3 per cent on Thursday after a week-long trading halt, rebounded as investors turned to picking up the counter after prices hit a 2.5-year low. The counter reversed most of Thursday's slide to close 13 Singapore cents or 15.1 per cent higher at 99 Singapore cents. It remains the most traded counter in the Singapore equities market with 126.2 million shares traded.

The local banks were mixed. DBS Group Holdings was unchanged at S$24.70. OCBC Bank fell S$0.07 or 0.7 per cent to S$10.63 and United Overseas Bank closed at S$25.04, down S$0.11 or 0.4 per cent.  Both OCBC Bank and UOB traded ex-dividend since Thursday.

One of the big movers in the market was Seroja Investments. The watch-listed company closed at 7.8 Singapore cents, almost 2.5 times its last traded on Aug 8 (3.2 Singapore cents).

Seroja said late Thursday it will dispose of Trans LK Marine and its assets to the group’s executive director and chief operating officer Masdjan for US$32.2 million. Seroja will be deemed a cash company after the sale.