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Singapore shares close 0.6% down

SINGAPORE shares closed lower on Thursday, with the key Straits Times Index falling 16.84 points or 0.6 per cent to 2,652.65 on a quiet trading day ahead of Friday’s polling in the city state and the release of key US jobless data.

Much of the region, however, posted gains in the key gauges in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, China and Australia. Like Singapore, the Malaysian market was another outlier and closed marginally lower.

Stephen Innes of AxiCorp said of the general trading mood in Asia: “Trading ranges continue to narrow as exchange volumes dwindle. Summer markets, yes, but (the situation is) also reflective of the fact that no one has seems to have much conviction on anything right now."

Trading volume on the local bourse was thin, with 2.6 billion shares worth S$1.09 billion done. Of the STI stocks, 23 counters posted losses, and seven seven chalked up gains.

Losses were led by OCBC, DBS, HongKong Land Holdings and Capitaland Mall Trust, which knocked off nearly nine index points from the STI.

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Keppel Corp fell seven Singapore cents or 1.14 per cent to finish at S$6.06. The conglomerate said its wholly-owned unit Kepinvest Singapore has agreed to extend KrisEnergy’s deadline for the debt restructuring from July 15 to end-September, in support of KrisEnergy’s management, while it crafts a debt workout plan with stakeholders. KrisEnergy is majority-owned by Keppel.

Biolidics jumped 10 Singapore cents or 32.3 per cent to 41 Singapore cents and was one of the most actively traded counters with 62 million shares done. Late on Wednesday, the Singapore-based cancer-diagnostics firm said it had inked a five-year pact with with Hangzhou-based LC-Bio to develop cancer-diagnostic solutions.

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