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Singapore shares post modest gains on Friday, up 3.1% on the week

THE rally of the past two days, which came on the back of US Federal Reserve dovishness and news that the US and China would meet at the G-20 summit, eased off on Friday. Market watchers attributed the day's performance to a combination of profit-taking by investors and worries over US-Iran relations.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,321.40, up 6.89 points or 0.2 per cent on Friday. On the week,  the benchmark index advanced 98.77 points or 3.1 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,222.63.

The STI spent most of Friday's session hovering around Thursday's closing price before edging up to close higher.

"After exhausting the positive glow from the expectation of Fed support, prices can be seen balanced between both caution and hopes over geopolitical events," said IG market strategist Pan Jingyi.

It was a mixed day in Asia-Pacific, with markets in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea closing lower. On the other hand, China and Malaysia extended their positive streak. 

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.77 billion securities, 65 per cent of the daily average in the first five months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.67 billion, 60 per cent over the January-to-May daily average.

The high activity on the day was attributed to FTSE index rebalancing, which added more than 600 million to the trading volume in the local equity market at the close.

SGX market strategist Geoff Howie noted that index rebalancing "mostly impacted the stocks that had completed secondary fundraisings or generated more pronounced moves since the last rebalancing".

"For instance, Keppel Infrastructure Trust (unchanged at 49.5 Singapore cents) saw significant volumes at the close, and had issued approximately 455 million units back on Apr 15," he added. 

Across the market, advancers pipped decliners 222 to 200. The benchmark index had 14 of the STI's 30 components in the red.

Meanwhile, the STI's weakest performer over the past three months, Hongkong Land (down five US cents or 0.8 per cent to US$6.65) and the index's strongest Singtel (down one cent or 0.3 per cent to S$3.44) also saw significant changes to volume at market close.

On 59.1 million shares traded, Golden Agri-Resources was the benchmark index's most traded stock. The agri-business player gained one Singapore cent or 3.5 per cent to end the week at 29.5 cents.