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Singapore shares close mixed as STI narrowly avoids 8th straight loss


WALL Street's Monday rebound may have come as a pleasant surprise but it was not wholly unanticipated - the Straits Times Index (STI), which often functions as an advance predictor of the US's performance later on the same day, had already on Monday climbed significantly off its intraday low that day.

As a result, the impact of the US market's jump on the local market on Tuesday was subdued - after an initial bounce of about 25 points which was most likely thanks to leftover short covering from Monday, the STI then drifted to a nett gain of just 1.05 points at 2,916.78. The main consolation was that the index narrowly avoided an eighth consecutive loss, although it did drop into the red in the late afternoon.

There was no change in the turnover totals nor its composition - of the total volume of 1.4 billion units worth S$894 million, a hefty 245 million units worth S$529 million was done in the 30 STI components. Excluding warrants, the advance-decline score was 194-190.

Brokers said that there are several concerns currently weighing on markets - chiefly weak commodity prices; an impending US interest rate hike in December; the threat of more terror attacks; and a slowing China. There is also the question of how a US rate hike would impact global growth given that most of the world is experiencing a slowdown.

Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) was queried by the Singapore Exchange at 10.15 am over the activity in its shares. NOL replied over an hour later, referring to its Nov 7 announcement that it is in takeover talks while reminding investors that these talks may not result in a concrete deal. The stock ended S$0.055 or 5.2 per cent higher at S$1.12 on volume of 51 million.