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Singapore shares weaken on Friday but STI gains 1.4% over the week

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CORPORATE earnings were the main focus this week, during which the Straits Times Index (STI) rose 40 points or 1.4 per cent to 2,867.40, including Friday's 2.42 point drop.

Providing the backdrop was a largely firm Wall Street, still basking in the "Goldilocks" glow of the previous week's employment report which suggested that economic growth is robust but not robust enough to justify significant interest rate hikes.

Turnover here however, was mediocre, Friday's session seeing one billion units worth S$916 million, below the S$1 billion daily average this year. On Friday, S$565 million or 62 per cent was done in the 30 STI components.

DBS kicked off the Q2 reporting season for banks on Monday when it announced a 5 per cent increase in net interest income to S$1.8 billion and 6 per cent fall in net earnings to S$1.05 billion.

DBS attributed the profit fall to a S$150 million charge for exposure to bankrupt oil and gas (O&G) company Swiber Holdings. However, it did add that asset quality remains sound. On Friday, DBS bounced S$0.09 to S$15.04 on volume of 4.96 million; for the week it gained S$0.21 or 1.4 per cent.

Although some analysts remain wary of possible O&G-related problems ahead - Macquarie Equities Research for example, said that it is reluctant to view Swiber as a one-off and maintained its "neutral" view with S$15 target for DBS - some have dismissed these concerns and issued a "buy".