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Singapore shares close weaker as Fed keeps rates unchanged


THE Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday and Thursday was clearly the main focus of the week just passed.

Just before the meeting, markets everywhere rose in anticipation of the Fed keeping interest rates unchanged; once it was announced, an element of "buy in anticipation, sell on news" came into play.

This resulted in Wall Street first rising sharply on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of the meeting but closing in the red on Thursday once the meeting's outcome was known. The same might be said of the Hong Kong and China markets which rallied on Wednesday and Thursday but ended only marginally higher on Friday.

The same applied to the local market. The Straits Times Index traded as high as 2,919 on Friday but was hit by a late selloff that took it from a gain of 24 points to a nett loss of 16.22 points at 2,879.59.

Jardine stocks, which will be dropped from the index on Monday onwards, were among the biggest losers, as were OCBC and Global Logistic Properties. The reversal meant the index lost eight points for the week.

The late selling - most likely in anticipation of weakness on Wall Street on Friday - meant volume on Friday swelled to 1.54 billion units worth S$1.9 billion, easily the best one-day total this month.