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Singapore shares close weaker for the week on US interest rate concerns

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THE US Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) penultimate meeting of 2015 provided the week's central focus for markets all over the world. Before the meeting, expectations were that the Fed would not raise interest rates but might say something about when it would. The FOMC stated in no uncertain terms that it may be ready to start raising interest rates in December and this brought the sellers out - at least in this part of the world.

Although Wall Street remained relatively firm in response to the news, the Straits Times Index over the five days lost 70 points or 2.3 per cent at 2,998.35, with Friday's session yielding a 3.16-point drop.

Throughout the week, volume was low and focused mainly in the 30 index members. On Friday though, elevated trading in the banks helped push total dollar turnover over the billion dollar mark for the first time in the week - business done amounted to 925 million units worth S$1.1 billion.

Stripping out the STI's turnover of 261 million units worth S$771 million shows that the rest of the market - more than 750 counters - only managed S$329 million.

Companies here with Dec 31 year-ends have started reporting their third quarter figures. OCBC was the first of the three banks to do so, with the stock's drop of S$0.44 or 4.6 per cent over the week to S$9.03 suggesting that investors were disappointed with what they saw.

Maybank Kim Eng for example, in a Oct 29 "sell" on OCBC with S$8.65 target said the latter's figures offered few reasons for the broker to change its negative view of the stock and sector.