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Singapore: No interest in blue chips

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If trading on Wednesday, the first day of the new quarter, was largely forgettable, the follow-up wasn't much of an improvement either.

On Thursday, the Straits Times Index displayed no verve or clear direction, the low volume of 1.4 billion units worth S$926 million one indication of the terminally dull phase the market now finds itself in. It did however, manage a 6.7-point rise to 3,453.75.

The unit average of S$0.66 suggested traders had to resort to punting the pennies to overcome boredom, an assessment that proved accurate after conversations with dealers.

"Is the market open today?" asked one wit, adding that with the market being closed on Friday for Good Friday, and with a key US jobs report due to be released that day, it probably made sense for traders to stay out for the time being. Whatever the case, the broad market excluding warrants chalked up 225 rises versus 188 falls. For the week, the STI was up about 3 points.

Not surprisingly, property and hotels firm IPC Corp leapt into the upper echelons of the volume list after news of general offer by businessman Oei Hong Leong at S$0.17 per share. The counter gained S$0.028 or 16 per cent at S$0.20 on volume of 56.7 million, leading some observers to suggest the market thinks a counter bid could be in the offing.