Local shares ended the week on a flat note after a session that lacked direction for much of the day.

Optimism also took a hit from news of a 3.6 per cent year-on-year decline in Singapore’s retail sales for last December amid continued low visitor arrivals.

Still, the Straits Times Index (STI) rose 1.53 points or 0.05 per cent to 2,907.11. Gainers beat losers 244 to 204 on trade of 1.77 billion shares worth $1.15 billion.

Markers across the region were mixed. The Nikkei gained 1.5 per cent, the Hang Seng added 0.6 per cent and the Kospi advanced 1.1 per cent, but the KLCI slipped 0.4 per cent and the Shenzhen Component Index fell 0.7 per cent.

Things were more positive on Wall Street with the three indexes finishing in the black overnight after gains of around 1 per cent.

Oanda market analyst Jeffrey Halley said: “Asean markets are struggling to buy into the global recovery story with their less tech and manufacturing-heavy indexes, being heavily weighted to banks, property and commodities, which have been soft this week.”

Haw Par Corporation was the biggest gainer here, closing at $11.62, up 1.9 per cent.

Other gainers included Creative Technology, up 5.2 per cent to $2.64, and Sarine Technologies, 16.4 per cent ahead at 64 cents.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jardine Matheson Holdings was the biggest loser, closing 1 per cent lower at US$57.90.

Tech counters took a hit. Venture Corp fell 1 per cent to $19.97, AEM lost 2.5 per cent to $4.29 and Micro-Mechanics shed 1.9 per cent to $3.58.

The lenders ended the week in the black. DBS Bank gained 0.2 per cent to $25.28, OCBC Bank rose 0.4 per cent to $10.30 and UOB added 0.4 per cent to $23.54.

The Place Holdings was the most active, with 116.6 million shares done. It closed at 14.5 cents, up 22.9 per cent.