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Mixed to weak trading for Singapore stocks despite STI's gain

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TRADING of the three local banks dominated proceedings this week as a rush to buy them in the first two days propelled the Straits Times Index (STI) to its highest in almost 22 months.

Possibly because it was a case of "too much, too soon", or because investors suddenly realised that the outlook may not be that robust, the momentum faltered in the second half of the week, with the index weakening on Thursday. On Friday, it managed a 1.11 point rise to 3,229.73 after dropping into the red for much of the day. For the week, the index gained 54 points or 1.7 per cent.

Turnover on Friday amounted to 4.2 billion units worth S$1.2 billion, the unit figure significantly elevated by trading in MDR, which rose S$0.001 to S$0.007 on turnover of 1.6 billion units. The highest dollar volume was done on Tuesday, when a large play on the banks erupted and drove turnover up to S$1.5 billion.

An odd divergence manifested itself throughout the week with, the broad market sagging when the index surged, and the broad market firming when the index fell. On Friday, this was again apparent when there were 195 rises versus 281 falls, excluding warrants.

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