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Singapore shares close higher for the week

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THERE was no doubt that the US Federal Reserve's Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday was the biggest event of the week just past, even though everyone knew with almost complete certainty that there would be no interest rate hike.

In the days leading up to the meeting, the federal funds futures market was pricing in an 80 per cent chance that the Fed would not act - which as it turned out was the case.

Still, although the script played out as markets expected, it gave traders an excuse to either buy or cover their shorts on Monday and Tuesday, especially since there was also a Bank of Japan meeting where more monetary easing was expected. For the week, the Straits Times Index gained about 30 points or just over one per cent, including 10.89 points on Friday.

It also gave house traders and proprietary desks the opportunity to punt the second and third-lines, mainly penny speculatives such as ISR Capital and the three counters behind the penny crash three years ago - Liongold, Blumont and Asiasons. In ISR's case, broking firms Phillip Securities and OCBC Securities this week placed trading restrictions on the stock, while others like UOB-Kay Hian and Lim & Tan have had the counter on their restricted list for some time.