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Singapore stocks finish weaker on Friday

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THE local stock market this week took its cues from Wall Street, where the political upheaval of a fortnight ago appears to have settled down. Or has it?

On the one hand, the behaviour of US stocks gives the impression that nothing will come of a probe into Russia's interference in last year's US presidential election, the major indices having recovered their poise after a large wobble two weeks ago.

As reports would have it, all eyes are now on the Donald Trump administration's budget, which includes large cuts to social spending and big increases to military spending.

Yet the fact remains that almost every day new allegations surface about Russia and the elections that could very well damage the White House, though for some reason or the other markets seem to be keen to gloss over them.

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No matter, as far as investors here are concerned a firm Wall Street means a firm local market, though a 14.95-point loss on Friday for the Straits Times Index did trim its gain for the week to just three points at 3,219.42. Friday's loss was most likely in anticipation of weakness in the US - the Dow futures dropped into the red at 5pm and Europe opened weak.

Volume, though, has been a concern. Friday's haul was a poor 1.8 billion units worth S$995 million, activity in the banks and a handful of other index heavyweights having quietened down this week.

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