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Singapore shares close weaker, weighed down by fallout from Swiber's bankruptcy

Friday, August 5, 2016 - 17:30
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THE local stock market this year has been buffeted by mainly external factors such as Brexit, weak oil and concerns over China's economy. This week the focus switched to internal worries brought on by the collapse of offshore and marine (O&M) stock Swiber Holdings, which a week ago filed for liquidation then changed this to an application to be placed under judicial management.

With Wall Street also faltering - up to Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for seven straight sessions - and with Europe and Japan banking their hopes on more support from their authorities, the Straits Times Index underwent a volatile week.

On Friday it fell 3.79 to 2,828.17, bringing its net loss for the week to 40 points or 1.4 per cent and its loss for the year to 1.9 per cent.

Turnover on Friday was 1.2 billion units worth S$1.2 billion, undoubtedly inflated by the addition of 6.5 billion new Noble Group shares following the commodity firm's recent rights issue. Early in the week Noble's price crashed, drawing a query from the Singapore Exchange, to which Noble replied in the negative. Observers reported that the selling was most probably by funds and traders who sold ahead of the crediting of those rights shares into their trading accounts on Thursday. Noble's price underwent a volatile week, on Thursday and Friday bouncing a total of S$0.022 or 17 per cent to S$0.154.

Swiber's bankruptcy has shocked the local market and prompted analysts to rethink their earnings and provisioning estimates for companies associated with the O&M sector.

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