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Singapore stocks finish lower on Friday, hit by Wall Street's selloff

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WALL Street's volatility was the main feature of trading this week, especially in the second half. A sharp rise on Wednesday meant the Straits Times Index rose 43 points on Thursday, but an unexpected plunge the next day brought the sellers out: on Friday, the STI dropped 32.17 points, which cut its gain for the week to 17 points or 0.5 per cent at 3,209.47.

To be sure, there must have been some element of quarter-ending "window-dressing" or "portfolio rebalancing" involved in these swings.

Or as one commentator put it "choppy behaviour like this tends to be seen at the end of the quarter when institutions are moving holdings around for reporting purposes".

Whatever the case, turnover has not been great in recent weeks. The highest business done for the week came on Friday when 1.5 billion units worth S$1.26 billion was transacted, a figure far below the S$1.6 billion done at the end of the first quarter on March 31, or the S$2.7 billion on Feb 28. On Friday, the advance-decline score was a weak 133-301, excluding warrants.

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