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Singapore shares close weaker in lowest volume of the year

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THE Straits Times Index on Monday drifted to a 5.76-point loss at 2,796.75 in one of the quietest sessions this year, most probably because of Wall Street's Monday closure for Memorial Day.

Even gains in Hong Kong failed to stir much movement here, resulting in only 834.5 million units worth S$600 million traded, the lowest single-day total of 2016. Of this, S$375 million or 62 per cent came from trading in the 30 index members.

"News from overseas markets like Hong Kong is that trading there is very quiet," remarked a dealer. "If they are quiet, then imagine how it is for us." Feedback from other dealers - those who could stay awake - was no different, the descriptions of trading conditions being mainly unflattering and unprintable.

Noble Group was the day's most active counter after an announcement that its chief executive officer (CEO), Yusuf Alireza, has resigned for family reasons. The company also announced that it is appointing two co-CEOs. The stock plunged S$0.025 or 8.2 per cent to S$0.28 on volume of 131.6 million, most of this coming in the mid-afternoon after Europe opened.

Not far behind was a put warrant on the Hang Seng Index with an exercise price of 20,000 for the index and expiring on June 29. The instrument fell S$0.007 to S$0.053 on volume of 60.4 million. The Hang Seng Index added 52.62 to end at 20,629.39.