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Singapore shares close lower on Friday; STI down 0.8% for the week

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THROUGHOUT the week the Straits Times Index (STI) moved in near-perfect lockstep with the Dow futures while punters expended their energies on penny stocks.

Anticipating what Wall Street might do is to be expected because asset markets everywhere are now hostage to whatever economic and political strategies the new US administration aims to pursue, and Wall Street is perhaps the best gauge of the impact of those policies - even if they benefit America to the exclusion of the rest of the world.

So it was on Friday when the STI finished 2.14 points weaker at 3,041.94. The futures contract, however, bounced up into positive territory at 5pm.

Friday's loss brought the STI's loss for the week to 23 points or 0.8 per cent, and the year-to-date rise to 5.6 per cent.

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Volume has picked up marginally from the S$1 billion averages seen towards the end of 2016, with Friday's 2.8 billion units worth S$1.1 billion in line with daily business this year. Excluding warrants, there were 248 rises versus 190 falls. Of the top 20 actives, 18 were priced below S$0.50.

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