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Singapore shares open higher on Friday; STI up 0.4% to 3,102.78

SINGAPORE shares echoed the Wall Street cheer overnight to open higher on Friday, with the Straits Times Index advancing 0.4 per cent, or 13.30 points to 3,102.78 as at 9.01am. 

This comes after US stocks rallied on Thursday on hopes for progress in the US-China trade dispute, after US President Donald Trump said he would meet China's top trade envoy. The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.6 per cent, as did the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. 

On the Singapore bourse, gainers outnumbered losers 68 to 28, after about 41.9 million shares worth S$38.2 million changed hands. 

Among the most heavily traded by volume, Spackman rose 9.1 per cent, or 0.1 Singapore cent to 1.2 cents, with 9.3 million shares traded; while Rex International was up 1.3 per cent, or 0.1 cent to 7.8 cents, with 4.6 million shares traded. 

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On Wednesday, Catalist-listed film producer and investor Spackman Entertainment Group said its new South Korean film Crazy Romance will debut in 22 markets, including Singapore.

Also buttressing the benchmark index were the financials - United Overseas Bank gained almost 1 per cent, or 25 Singapore cents to S$25.74, OCBC Bank rose 0.9 per cent, or nine cents to S$10.74, and DBS added 0.6 per cent, or 15 cents to S$24.86. 

Other active index stocks included CapitaLand which climbed 1.1 per cent, or four cents to S$3.55, and Venture Corp which gained 0.9 per cent, or 13 cents to S$15.30. CapitaLand on Friday said it has priced a new S$500 million fixed rate perpetual issue at 3.65 per cent. Sold on Thursday, orders exceeded S$900 million, which allowed the notes to be priced lower than the initial guidance of around 3.85 per cent.

Elsewhere, stocks in Asia also rose as high-level US-China trade talks progressed into a second day, and optimism grew that a truce may be achieved. Japan's Topix added 0.5 per cent, while South Korea's Kospi, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index both advanced 1 per cent each. 

IG market strategist Pan Jingyi noted that the US-China trade fuelled optimism will be the key driver for Asia markets, as investors await the resumption of Friday's talks.

"Little are expected out of the Asia session that may derail the glow though keeping an eye on any further comments on the talks. The latter half of the day would find Singapore's August retail sales reading, ahead of Germany’s September inflation reading to watch," Ms Pan added.