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Singapore shares open slightly higher on Friday; STI up 0.1% to 3,089.67

SINGAPORE shares inched higher on Friday, with the Straits Times Index up 0.06 per cent, or 1.70 points to 3,089.67 as at 9am. 

This comes after Wall Street stocks climbed overnight, following data showing US services sector activity at a three-year low fuelled expectations that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.8 per cent, the Dow rose 0.5 per cent, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.1 per cent. Microsoft also rose 1.2 per cent and Facebook added 2.7 per cent, with the two contributing more than any other companies to the S&P 500's gain.

On the Singapore bourse, advancers outnumbered decliners 47 to 41, after about 15.1 million shares worth S$34.1 million changed hands. 

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Among the most heavily traded by volume, Golden Agri-Resources gained 2.3 per cent, or 0.5 cent to 22 Singapore cents, with 7.6 million shares traded, while Manulife US Reit was flat at 89 US cents, with 1.7 million shares traded.

Banking stocks were mixed in the early morning trade - DBS rose 0.2 per cent, or five cents to S$24.62, OCBC Bank retreated 0.4 per cent, or four cents to S$10.67, and United Overseas Bank dipped 0.04 per cent, or one cent to S$25.32. 

Other active index stocks included Jardine Strategic Holdings, which gained 0.7 per cent, or 22 US cents to US$29.77, while Yangzijiang Shipbuilding lost 0.5 per cent, or 0.5 cent to 95.5 Singapore cents. 

Elsewhere, Asian equities opened mixed, as investors awaited the key monthly US jobs report and opening remarks later on Friday from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell at a Fed event.

Japan's Topix slipped 0.2 per cent as at 8.03am, Australia stocks added 0.3 per cent, and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2 per cent.