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Singapore shares open higher on Friday


SINGAPORE share prices opened 0.6 per cent higher on Friday, with the Straits Times Index (STI) up 15.42 points to 2,573.91 at 9.01am.

On Wall Street, stocks finished modestly higher on Thursday despite another drop in oil prices ahead of Friday's eagerly anticipated US jobs report for January.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 79.92 points (0.49 per cent) at 16,416.58. The broad-based S&P 500 added 2.92 points (0.15 per cent) at 1,915.45, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 5.32 points (0.12 per cent) to 4,509.56.

In Asia, Tokyo stocks opened sharply lower on Friday as a stronger yen hit exporters. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 1.49 per cent, or 254.46 points, to open at 16,790.53 in early trade, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares was down 1.45 per cent, or 20.20 points, at 1,368.61.

On Singapore's bourse, Friday's most active counters were telco Singtel (up 1.1 per cent to S$3.52); palm oil producer First Resources (up 1.6 per cent to S$1.885); and shipping firm Neptune Orient Lines (flat at S$1.245).

Before markets opened, Singtel's telco unit in Australia, Optus, said it has acquired new regional licences in the 1800 MHz spectrum band, which means it is well-placed to expand its 4G network coverage to more places around Australia.

Overall on the stock market, 40.3 million shares worth S$79.9 million changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 70 to 28 at 9.01am.