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Singapore: STI's slide corresponding to a weak, lifeless session

The director activity was low last week with only eight companies recording 20 purchases worth S$4.6 million and no sales, based on filings on the Singapore Exchange from Feb 23 to 27.

SOMETIMES the movement of the Straits Times Index doesn't properly represent how the broad market performed at any given point in time. This is often when a few large cap components exert a lopsided influence on the index, thus giving the impression of a session that was either stronger or weaker than it actually was.

Wednesday's session however, was not one such occasion - the STI rose five points and stayed there for virtually the whole session, before weakening in the final 20 minutes. Its eventual nett loss of 6.58 points at 3,415.53 accurately suggested a session that was boring, weak and lacking in notable features - which it was. The advance-decline score excluding warrants was 210-229.

Turnover amounted to 1.4 billion units worth S$1 billion, of which S$301.7 million was done in STI components. The average value per unit traded was S$0.71, which was slightly lower than the S$1 average of the past couple of weeks, suggesting less interest in higher priced issues.

Although Wall Street fell on Tuesday, most brokers thought that this was not a factor here because a) the US market had only just hit yet another all-time high on Monday and could therefore have been expected to weaken immediately after, and b) the local market has been running on its own steam for many months now, largely decoupled from the US.

In contrast to the same period last year when the top actives were speculative penny stocks, there were five index components in the list of top actives - Noble Group, Thai Beverage, Golden Agri Resources, Genting Singapore and Singtel.