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Singapore shares close weaker in low volume ahead of US FOMC meeting

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THE Straits Times Index (STI) on Tuesday dropped 7.62 points to 2,839.44 but the more important statistics were volume done - 1.8 billion units worth S$994 million, figures more reminiscent of the quiet days of 2015 than those which might herald a continuation of the two-week rally that has taken the index up about 10 per cent.

The average unit value, which was around S$1 at the start of the year, was S$0.55, whilst 14 of the top 20 actives list were priced below S$0.20.

Predictably, observers said that traders had turned cautious ahead of the two-day US Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meeting, which although was not expected to end with an interest rate hike, would be closely watched for clues as to when the Fed might act next.

Over in North Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended 0.7 per cent weaker whilst the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2 per cent. The Dow futures traded in the red for most of the day, and at 5pm local time stood 70 points weaker.

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In the second line, shares of crane and heavy machinery supplier Tat Hong jumped S$0.145 or 30 per cent to S$0.635 on volume of 12.6 million after the company made a holding announcement that it may be taken over. It revealed that discussions are preliminary and that there is no certainty or assurance that these discussions will result in any transaction.

Precision engineering firm JEP Holdings' shares slipped S$0.003 to S$0.035 on volume of 38.3 million, drawing a query from the Singapore Exchange about the high volume. The company replied that it did not know of reasons for the interest in its shares.

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