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Singapore shares post gains on Friday, up 2.1% on the week

FOR much of the week, sentiment played off the warming relationship between the US and China, culminating in the two trading gestures of goodwill. Markets have also taken heart to more accommodative central bank moves to combat flagging economic growth and hopes that the US Federal Reserve will do so next week.

On Friday, local equities were also lifted by the European Central Bank (ECB) announcing a fresh round of economic stimulus and with it a rate cut that takes the depo rate to -0.5 per cent, an all-time low.

The Straits Times Index (STI) ended the week at 3,211.49, up 16.53 points or 0.5 per cent. The blue-chip index added 67.01 points or 2.1 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,144.48.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, markets were also given a boost from the dovish ECB and an increasingly hopeful lead-up to US-China trade talks in October. Australia, Hong Kong and Japan closed higher. Malaysia was flat. Markets in China, South Korea and Taiwan were closed for the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 939.16 million securities, 78 per cent of the daily average in the first eight months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$938.46 million, 87 per cent of the January-to-August daily average.

Across the market, advancers trumped decliners 243 to 135. The blue-chip index had just three of the 30 counters closing in the red.

For each trading day of the past two weeks, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the most active counter on the STI. On Friday, the shipbuilder closed one Singapore cent or 0.9 per cent higher at S$1.12 with 41.4 million shares changing hands.

The local banks also closed higher. DBS Group Holdings added S$0.19 or 0.8 per cent to close at S$25.56, OCBC Bank gained nine Singapore cents or 0.8 per cent to S$11.10 while United Overseas Bank was unchanged at S$26.41.

Among the best performers was semiconductor play AEM Holdings, which jumped four Singapore cents or 3.5 per cent to S$1.19. The equipment manufacturer has increased its tally for sales orders for FY2019 to S$280 million and raised its revenue guidance for the current fiscal year.

Boustead also saw active trading, advancing three Singapore cents or 4.1 per cent to 76.5 cents on 25.3 million shares traded. The vast majority of the counter's turnover was down to a married trade involving 23.7 million shares at 73.5 cents.