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Singapore: Stocks end lower to close the week; Noble's figures, SGX CEO in focus
A SURPRISE announcement by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) that its boss Magnus Bocker does not want to stay on after his contract expires in June, commodities firm Noble Group's ongoing tussle with short-selling firm Iceberg Research and slight softness in the banking sector - these were the main local features of interest in this week's trading.
On the external front there was not much happening - the US Federal Reserve's Janet Yellen delivered her semi-annual testimonies on the state of the US economy and said pretty much what markets expected, Greece and its European bailors reached an agreement of sorts on the country's debt repayments thus easing fears of a "Grexit", and the government here announced a Budget for the long term that had little impact on the market.
Overall trading, however, appeared to be slipping back into the pattern seen in the final months of 2014, with prices trapped within narrow bands. A senior dealer wryly remarked when asked to describe the market: "Not to sound too cliched but it is weakening on an absence of fresh leads."
Friday's session provided a good illustration of this, with prices drifting within a narrow band for much of the day. At 5pm, a weak opening for Europe accelerated the selling, and left the Straits Times Index a net 23.32 points weaker at 3,402.86. The entire market saw 165 rises versus 270 falls. For the week, the index dropped 33 points or about one per cent.