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The Straits Times Index on Monday drifted to a 16.56 points loss at 2,871.47 ahead of the US Federal Open Markets Committee meeting this week at which an interest rate hike could be announced.
There was no post-General Election rally to speak of despite the ruling People's Action Party scoring a decisive win in the elections; instead, traders said the market was more concerned with a murky external environment.
A clear indication of the caution shrouding trading was volume traded. At 1.2 billion units worth S$857 million, this was thin even by this year's low standards. Excluding warrants, the advance-decline score was 173-231.
The average value per unit traded was S$0.71 and of the 20 most active stocks, 13 were priced below S$0.20. Stocks which rose or held firm last week such as Noble Group, YuuZoo and Stratech came under pressure, although shipbuilding counter Yangzijiang continued to gain ground on news that it will soon be included in the Straits Times Index.
Conversely, Jardine Matheson and Jardine Strategic, which will be dropped from the STI next Monday, continued to weaken.
"Everyone is waiting to see what the Fed does this week," said a dealer. "There's also China, where people are waiting to see what more stimulus the government might announce."