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Singapore shares rise on trade deal details, up 0.6% on the week

WITH word that the US has finalised terms for a "Phase One" trade deal which will see the suspension of this Sunday's tariff imposition and the Conservative Party's commanding victory in the UK general elections, investors were handed a double dose of good news as they headed off for the weekend.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) extended gains from Thursday to close the week at 3,214.05, breaching the 3,200-point resistance after a 19.38-point or 0.6 per cent jump. On the week, the blue-chip index added 19.34 points or 0.6 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,194.71.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, the green lights were flashing, with benchmarks in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan all decidedly higher to close the trading week out.

Of the lot, the Hang Seng Index performed the best, leaping 693.62 points or 2.6 per cent to close at 27,687.76. The MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index added 1.2 per cent.

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With markets getting a sense of certainty, they were in a buoyant mood. "It seems like the 'Santa rally' came in earlier this year," wrote CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang.

That said, on the trade front, the elephant in the room was Beijing's silence. Understandably, this has generated some worry over whether both parties will ultimately sign a deal. This, traders noted, seemed to cap gains as Friday's session wore on.

"China's trade spokespersons have been conspicuous by their absence, which has brought the trade deal euphoria to a halt, but we should expect trade deal ebullience to resume as soon as China gives their nod to the deal," AxiTrader chief Asia market strategist Stephen Innes said.

In Singapore, trading volume stood at 1.28 billion securities, 7 per cent over the daily average in the first 10 months of 2019. Meanwhile, total turnover clocked in at S$1.39 billion, 30 per cent over the January-to-October daily average.

Across the market, advancers trumped decliners 225 to 160. Eight of the benchmark's 30 counters ended in the red.

Investors continued to rotate out of real estate investment trusts (Reits) since the US central bank affirmed on Wednesday that it is likely to stand pat on interest rates for a year. The iEdge S-Reit Index fell 17.83 points or 1.3 per cent to 1,406.48.

Among the STI's Reit counters, Ascendas Reit dropped S$0.08 or 2.7 per cent to S$2.91 and CapitaLand Mall Trust fell S$0.04 or 1.6 per cent to S$2.42.

With trade-friendly developments the talk of the town, cyclical stocks were among the best performers on the day. Among them, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding advanced S$0.04 or 3.7 per cent to S$1.13, the highest closing price since the shares faced a heavy sell-off on Aug 8.

Meanwhile, electronics manufacturing services firm Venture Corp jumped S$0.60 or 3.8 per cent to S$16.43.