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Singapore shares close lower for the week in low volume

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THIS week's main focus was the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's March Open Market Committee meeting which showed that most Fed governors were against raising rates in April.

This then gave trading funds the opportunity to push stocks higher, though the momentum did not last - after a jump on Wednesday , Wall Street indices dropped sharply on Thursday.

Here, trading on Friday was weak and subdued, with the Straits Times Index (STI) losing 5.27 points at 2,808.32, and the market managing only one billion units worth S$772.7 million in trading volume, the lowest for the week. Over the five days the STI fell 10 points.

The three banks have by far been the main index drivers for most of 2016, mainly on concerns over their exposure to the weak offshore and marine sector.

Market voices on:

Although DBS and UOB did not make any major announcements this week, OCBC on Thursday announced that it bought the wealth and investment management business of Barclays Bank in Singapore and Hong Kong for US$320 million in cash.

Macquarie Warrants in its daily newsletter said that Macquarie Equities Research (MER) released a research note on Thursday stating their views on the purchase.

"MER gave an 'Outperform' rating on OCBC which is MER's top pick among Singapore banks. It is targeting a 12-month price target of $9.50," said Macquarie Warrants. OCBC on Friday dropped S$0.03 to S$8.78 on volume of 5.2 million.


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