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Singapore shares reverse early dip to close 0.4% higher on Thursday

VOLATILITY remains as regional markets continued to ebb and flow on Thursday, contributing to a mixed session in Asia. But the Singapore market managed to trend upwards after opening lower following Washington's move to ban US companies from using foreign telecoms equipment.

Entering the mid-day break flat, Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) continued to reverse the early session's dip to close up 11.49 points or 0.4 per cent at 3,230.26.

"The STI has found some support at around 3,200 points, but I don't think the worst is over if trade-risk persists for an extended period of time," CMC Markets market analyst Margaret Yang said.

The US' latest move, which market watchers see as targeting Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, adds another element to the already tense flare-up in trade relations between Washington and Beijing.

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"If that's not an escalation in trade tensions, then I don't know what is," Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley remarked.

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 968.09 million securities or 77 per cent of the daily average in the first four months of 2019. Meanwhile, total turnover came to S$883.59 million, 86 per cent of the January-to-April daily average.

Across the market, decliners outnumbered advancers 205 to 181. The benchmark index had 21 of its 30 components trading in the black.

With 39.2 million shares changing hands, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding was the Singapore bourse's most traded stock, closing three Singapore cents or 2.1 per cent higher at S$1.49.

Observers speculated that the shipbuilder's stock could have gone up on possible share buybacks and traders looking to add to their positions before Yangzijiang goes ex-dividend on May 21.

BoardRoom Limited shares leapt on Thursday, after GK Goh Holdings' voluntary unconditional cash offer for the mainboard-listed corporate secretarial services firm at S$0.88 per share. GK Goh intends to delist BoardRoom. BoardRoom shares closed at the offer price of S$0.88, up S$0.11 or 14.3 per cent.

The local banks gained on the day. DBS Group Holdings added S$0.29 or 1.1 per cent to close at S$26.58, OCBC Bank gained S$0.03 or 0.3 per cent to finish at S$11.22 while United Overseas Bank edged up S$0.06 or 0.2 per cent to S$25.16.

Among regional markets, Australia added 0.7 per cent, China advanced 0.6 per cent but Japan fell 0.6 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed flat.