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Singapore: Stocks weaken ahead of US FOMC meeting

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THERE were no surprises as far as Wednesday trading in the local stock market was concerned, as the Straits Times Index drifted to a net loss of 8.2 points at 3,361.75.

The broad market was much weaker than suggested by the index's modest fall, recording only 156 rises versus 300 falls. Turnover was one billion units worth S$1 billion.

The absence of interest was widely anticipated because markets have been waiting for the two-day US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to be concluded in the US on Wednesday. No interest rate hike is expected at this meeting, but traders would be watching for clues as to whether rates will be raised in June.

Among the more noticeable moves was Noble Group, which sank S$0.035 or almost 4 per cent to S$0.865 on volume of 57.2 million. The stock has now lost about 28 per cent since its accounting policies were attacked by a little-known financial firm called Iceberg Research.

In the second line, shares of Australian heavy engineering firm Civmec crashed S$0.145 or 29 per cent to S$0.355 on volume of 4.9 million. The company has been queried by the Singapore Exchange and has said it does not know of reasons to account for the recent weakness.