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STI up despite weak Q2 GDP estimates, but down 0.3% on the week

SINGAPORE'S benchmark index managed to stave off Friday's disappointing advanced estimates for second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) to close out higher. 

The Straits Times Index (STI) closed at 3,357.34, up 6.89 points or 0.2 per cent on Friday. On the week, the benchmark index is down 9.47 points or 0.3 per cent from last Friday's close of 3,366.81.

Geoff Howie, the Singapore Exchange's market strategist, told The Business Times: "The GDP estimate was expected by economists to be weighed by the outward-orientated manufacturing sector. However, concerns on the laggard indicator of activity were allayed somewhat this week by US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell."

In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.07 billion securities, 90 per cent of the daily average in the first six months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.03 billion, 97 per cent of the January-to-June daily average.

Across the broader market, decliners outpaced advancers 235 to 181. However, the benchmark index fared better, with 10 of its 30 components closing in the red.

On 30.8 million shares traded, Thai Beverage was the blue-chip index's most active, closing 1.5 Singapore cents or 1.7 per cent lower at 86.5 cents. "Investors could have booked profits following the recent share rally," a trader said.

The local banks ended higher. DBS Group Holdings gained S$0.17 or 0.7 per cent to close at S$25.78, OCBC Bank edged up S$0.03 or 0.3 per cent to S$11.51 and United Overseas Bank ended at S$26.53, up S$0.09 or 0.3 per cent.

Among real estate investment trusts (Reits), Keppel-KBS US Reit added 1.5 US cents or 1.9 per cent to close at 80.5 US cents after RHB  Research Institute initiated coverage on the Reit with a "Buy" recommendation and a target price of 88 US cents.

RHB analyst Vijay Natarajan said that despite the Reit's units posting a strong price gain (29 per cent) in the year up to Thursday, they are still undervalued.