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Singapore shares slip at Friday's open; STI down 0.1%

SINGAPORE shares were little changed at Friday's open after a strong showing on Thursday, buoyed by optimistic data releases including positive China data and a modest improvement in August's international visitor numbers in Singapore.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) retreated 1.81 points or 0.1 per cent to 2,498.93 as at 9.01am on Friday.

Decliners edged out advancers slightly at 53 to 47, after 51.7 million securities worth S$32.5 million changed hands.

Among the index securities, the most heavily traded by volume was Thai Beverage which lost 0.5 Singapore cent or 0.8 per cent to 60.5 cents, with 1.7 million shares traded.

Singapore Telecommunications added S$0.01 or 0.5 per cent to S$2.16, with 1.3 million shares traded. This comes as the telco on Thursday announced that its group chief executive (CEO) Chua Sock Koong will be retiring with effect from Jan 1, 2021. The promotion of Singtel's consumer head, Yuen Kuan Moon, to group CEO is seen as a "rational" pick, and is expected to keep the mainboard-listed company in steady hands, analysts told The Business Times.

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Meanwhile, banking stocks were mixed in early trade. UOB gained S$0.10 or 0.5 per cent to S$19.48, DBS fell S$0.10 or 0.5 per cent to S$20.30, while OCBC lost S$0.04 or 0.5 per cent to S$8.54.

Other active securities included Netlink NBN Trust, which was down S$0.01 or 1 per cent to S$0.97, while Mapletree Industrial Trust units gained S$0.05 or 1.5 per cent to S$3.29.

Over in the US, tech shares led Wall Street higher on Thursday at the start of a new quarter, as investors weighed mixed economic data and ongoing stimulus talks.

European shares handed back most of their early gains to finish slightly higher on Thursday, as a slide in oil majors and German drugs company Bayer offset a slew of positive earning reports. After rising as much as 0.9 per cent, the pan-European Stoxx 600 lost some steam to end just 0.2 per cent higher, fading as oil prices slumped 5 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo stocks resumed trading on Friday, after a hardware failure the day before caused an unprecedented day-long halt to trade on one of the world's largest exchanges.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up 0.5 per cent or 121.63 points to 23,306.75 in early trade, while the broader Topix index gained 0.5 per cent or 7.93 points to 1,633.42.

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