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Singapore shares gain 1.2% on upbeat China data, progress in trade talks

THERE was much to cheer on Monday as markets in Asia kicked off the second quarter in positive territory, on the back of both official and private Chinese purchasing managers' index figures for March beating expectations, and positive sentiment emanating from US-China trade talks.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) gained 37.63 points or 1.17 per cent to close at 3,250.51.

Trading clocked in at 898.08 million securities, about 65 per cent of the daily average over the first two months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1 billion, just under the January-to-February daily average. Advancers outnumbered decliners 278 to 146.

Genting Singapore was the bourse's most active counter with 39.2 million shares traded. Shares in the casino operator ended the session one Singapore cent or 1 per cent higher at S$1.05.

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Among non-STI counters, oil and gas firm Rex International saw the most activity, adding 0.5 Singapore cent or 6.8 per cent to close at 7.9 cents on 36.6 million shares traded. 

Twenty-seven of the STI's 30 constituents ended the day in the black. Encouraged by the Chinese industrial activity in March, Venture Corporation was the blue-chip index's big gainer on the day. The electronics manufacturing services firm ended S$0.56 or 3.1 per cent up at S$18.50 with 28.5 million shares changing hands.  

Going by value of trades done, DBS Group Holdings saw S$99.75 million traded - about 10 per cent of the bourse's value of securities traded - across 3.91 million shares. The bank's shares added S$0.36 or 1.4 per cent to end at S$25.59.

With markets in a buoyant mood, the other local banks also closed in positive territory. OCBC Bank closed S$0.16 or 1.4 per cent higher at S$11.21 while United Overseas Bank added S$0.23 or 0.9 per cent to close at S$25.42.