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Singapore shares close weaker on the day, STI down 14.3% for the year

Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 13:07
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The Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Monday outlined steps that mainboard companies should take in deciding to transfer to the Catalist board, making a distinction between companies to be placed on the watch-list because they do not meet the minimum trading price (MTP) requirement, and those that are on the watch-list due in part to sustained financial losses.

IN some senses the week just past was a microcosm of the year just past, with prices drifting lower in poor volume and the only meaningful interest coming in the 30 Straits Times Index (STI) components.

Poor volume and weak sentiment aside though, there were differences between events of this week and 2015 - in the first half of 2015, the main market driver was Greece's financial health and likely exit from the eurozone, while in the third quarter and most of the fourth, it was China's sliding economy and plunging stock market.

Greece and China appear to have relinquished their positions as prime market movers in recent weeks, with December's primary focus being the US Federal Open Market Committee meeting mid-month at which US interest rates were raised by 25 basis points.

After a brief "relief rally" immediately after that rate hike, the local market entered what many believe is its now-default mode, marked by thin volume, weak sentiment and churning of penny stocks by day traders. Such was the case this week, when already-soft turnover dwindled even more because of the holiday period, amid largely featureless trading.

On the last trading day of 2015, the STI drifted to a 2.78 point loss at 2,882.73, bringing its loss for the year to 482.42 points or 14.3 per cent. Turnover was a weak 612.6 million units worth S$373.2 million and excluding warrants there were 151 rises versus 156 falls.