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Singapore stocks: STI resumes Friday afternoon at 3,228.29, down 0.05% on day

SINGAPORE stocks pared back some of its morning losses as trading resumed on Friday afternoon, with the Straits Times Index edging down 0.05 per cent or 1.59 points on the day to 3,228.29 as at 1.04pm.

Losers beat gainers 147 to 141, after 505.9 million securities worth S$468.4 million changed hands.

Among the most active securities, Rex International advanced S$0.003 or 2.8 per cent to S$0.11 with 38.1 million shares traded. This comes after it said its unit Lime Petroleum AS completed a farm-in deal for a 30 per cent stake in two Norwegian Sea drilling licences from DEA Norge.

TEE International and Sasseur Reit were also both up after heavy trading volumes.

Among financials, UOB traded down S$0.32 or 1.2 per cent at S$26.51 despite reporting stronger third-quarter results on Friday morning. Its peer DBS was also down, losing S$0.16 or 0.6 per cent to S$25.84, while OCBC was up S$0.03 or 0.3 per cent to S$10.99.

Asian markets were mixed on Friday after Beijing officials had raised doubts about the chances of a long-term deal with regard to the US-China trade war.

Investors were also spooked by a speech by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in which he called China "truly hostile" to the US, leading Beijing to accuse the White House of "viciously" attacking it.

The flare up comes just as the two sides put the finishing touches to a mini trade pact that seen as the first phase of a wider agreement, with top-level phone talks due to take place later Friday.

Recent signs of progress on the long-running dispute had provided some much-needed support to equity markets in recent weeks, with most markets posting some healthy gains.

Asian markets started in negative territory but saw some bounce as the morning wore on.

Hong Kong rose 0.4 per cent as dealers brushed off a much-sharper-than-expected dive in third quarter economic growth as the city is battered by the trade war and months of sometimes violent protests that have hammered its tourism and retail sectors.

Shanghai rose 0.2 per cent, Seoul added 0.5 per cent and Sydney edged up 0.1 per cent.

However, Tokyo retreated 0.4 per cent, while Wellington and Jakarta were also lower.

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