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Singapore stocks: STI resumes Friday afternoon at 3,102.16, down 0.8% on day

ENCOURAGING US retail sales data may have eased worries on Wall Street after recent US yield curve inversions but sentiment in the local market remained risk-off on global recessionary concerns and stubborn trade disputes.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) was trading at 3,102.16, down 23.93 points or 0.8 per cent, as at 1.05pm on Friday.

Even though non-oil domestic exports (NODX) for July surprised on the upside, Jeffrey Halley, Oanda's Asia Pacific senior market analyst acknowleged the Singapore market as a noted underperformer on Friday, "suggesting that local markets are taking this morning’s positive data with a very large pinch of salt".

NODX continued to fall in July, but less sharply. After dropping 16.3 per cent year on year in May and 17.4 per cent in June, NODX fell 11.2 per cent last month - against a 15.4 per cent median estimate by private sector economists.

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Equity markets were a mixed bag elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific, as shares in Malaysia and South Korea were lower and those in Australia and Japan were flat.

Hong Kong and China shares continued to trade higher as investors turned to bargain hunting after Beijing signalled support for its economy, leaving the door open for further fiscal measures. China's state planner said on Friday it will roll out a plan to boost disposable income this year and in 2020 to spur consumption as the economy slows.

In Singapore shortly after the afternoon session commenced, volume clocked in at 752.53 million securities traded and a total turnover of S$527.89 million. Both are on track to beat their respective seven-month daily averages.

Across the market, decliners trumped advancers 182 to 119. The bluechip index had 27 of the 30 counters in trading in the red.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, which slid 17.3 per cent on Thursday after a week-long trading halt, rebounded as investors turned to picking up the counter at prices close to a 2.5-year low. The counter is trading 6.5 Singapore cents or 7.6 per cent higher at 92.5 cents.

It remains the most traded counter in the Singapore equities market with 68.1 million shares traded.

Financials continued their downtrend. DBS Group Holdings dropped S$0.10 or 0.4 per cent to S$24.60; OCBC Bank fell S$0.10 or 0.9 per cent to S$10.60, while United Overseas Bank (UOB) was trading at S$24.97, down S$0.18 or 0.7 per cent.

Among second line counters, Frencken Group, which provides capital equipment, automotive and consumer product solutions, saw its shares add 2.5 Singapore cents or 3.7 per cent at 71 cents.

One of the big movers in the market was Seroja Investments. The watch-listed company was trading at 7.1 Singapore cents, more than double the 3.2 Singapore cents the shares last traded at on Aug 8.

Seroja said late Thursday it will dispose of Trans LK Marine and its assets to the group’s executive director and chief operating officer Masdjan for US$32.2 million. Seroja will be deemed a cash company after the sale.