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Singapore shares close lower on weak Wall Street, soft oil and Swiber's woes


THE global post-Brexit rally appears to be fast running out of puff - on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average which set several all-time highs last month, fell for the seventh consecutive session, no doubt a factor behind the Straits Times Index's (STI) 29.09 points loss on Wednesday at 2,827.58.

From June 27, two trading days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, the STI had jumped from 2,729 to 2,945 on July 20, a gain of 216 points or almost 8 per cent in less than a month.

That rally has widely been attributed to faith in the Bank of England and Bank of Japan providing liquidity support for their economies via their markets, and on the US Federal Reserve delaying raising US interest rates.

Since then, a combination of weak oil, a loss of confidence in the potency of central bank action and locally, the shock bankruptcy of offshore and marine (O&M) company Swiber Holdings have taken 118 points or 4 per cent off the index, dragging it 1.9 per cent into the red for the year so far.

Also contributing to Wednesday's softness was a steep slide in Hong Kong where the market played catch-up after being closed on Tuesday because of a typhoon, and a weak day for the Dow futures that raised the possibility that the US benchmark could fall for an eighth straight day on Wednesday.