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Singapore shares close 1.11% down

THE cautious mood in the Singapore bourse prevailed with the key Straits Times Index closing 38.18 points or 1.11 per cent lower at 3,392.51 on Wednesday as traders shifted their focus to key central bank meetings ahead, chiefly in the US.

Turnover came in at 1.48 billion shares worth S$1.21 billion  versus Tuesday's 1.69 billion worth S$968 million. Losers outpaced gainers with 285 counters down and 143 counters up. 

Most Asian markets also pulled back while Japan's key index bucked the trend and closed higher led by cheaper a yen. Traders stayed in the sidelines ahead of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting where a 25 basis-point rate hike seems to be a shoo-in while the jury is still out on whether the Fed may take a more hawkish stance.

 Based on the release of key data including inflation and payrolls which suggest a strong economic momentum for the US economy, analysts say there is a chance that the Fed may quicken its pace of tightening - or in other words,  favour four rather than three hikes  this year. Overnight Tuesday, key US stock indices remained relatively unchanged, shrugging off the outcome of the historic US-North Korea Summit in Singapore and with the Consumer Price Index prints coming in largely in line with expectations. “This (peace) process could take time,” said Deutsche Bank Wealth Management in a note, cautioning that the agreement does not mean a complete end to North Korea geopolitical risks in the short or medium term as both US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have “proven to be unpredictable leaders in international policies”.

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