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Singapore shares close flat, STI drops 38 points from intraday peak
WALL Street's Tuesday rise helped calm some nerves and prompted a bout of short covering that pushed the Straits Times Index (STI) higher for most of Wednesday. A weak opening for Europe, however, cut the index's gain to just 0.57 point at 2,546.18. Its intraday peak was 2,584.
Turnover was by recent standards mediocre at 809.8 million units worth S$982 million and the broad market excluding warrants recorded 224 rises versus 166 falls.
Helping cap the index's rise was weakness in the Shanghai Composite and the Dow futures, the latter dropping about 50 points in Asian trading.
Also a factor was caution ahead of Wednesday's US Federal Open Market Committee meeting. As at Tuesday, the federal funds futures market was pricing a zero probability of a rate hike and a 4 per cent chance of a rate cut.
All three Singapore banks fell while offshore and marine stocks Keppel Corp, Sembcorp Marine and Ezra Holdings fared a bit better when they closed either unchanged or firmer.
EMS Energy, however, stood out when it crashed S$0.08 or 27 per cent to S$0.22 on volume of 27 million, drawing a query from Singapore Exchange.