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Singapore shares brush off Brexit, STI gains 4% over the week

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"BAD economic news is good for stocks" has been a defining mantra over the past eight years thanks to generous central bank policies which have supported risk assets, and so it was again the case this week that equities defied expert forecasts by bouncing up after Britain voted to leave the European Union in an event now etched in the collective memory as "Brexit".

Instead of the financial bloodbath that analysts thought would ensue, markets around the world rallied after only two days of selling.

Here, the Straits Times Index's (STI) 64 points loss over those two days were quickly recouped when the STI rose for the four subsequent sessions between Tuesday and Friday, gaining 117 points along the way, albeit with the aid of plenty of opportunistic half-year window-dressing and portfolio rebalancing.

Friday's 5.44 points rise to 2,846.37 came with only 1.3 billion units worth S$1 billion done - 41 per cent lower than Thursday's of S$1.7 billion. For the week, the index gained 111 points or 4 per cent.

There are a few plausible explanations for the anomalous market behaviour in the face of Brexit, the most likely being that central banks everywhere have indicated their resolve to keep the money pumps open to stave off disaster, thus reinforcing the "bad news is good news" way of investing.