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Singapore shares close 1.2% lower on Thursday, down 2% for week


A SLUMP in oil prices and overnight weakness on Wall Street made for a weak Thursday for the local stock market, with the Straits Times Index (STI) dropping 34.59 points or 1.2 per cent to 2,847.39.

There were losses for equities throughout the region, with the Hang Seng Index losing 1.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite Index dropping 1.6 per cent.

In a holiday-shortened week, the STI fell 59 points or 2 per cent; for the year to date, it is down 1.2 per cent.

The government's Budget 2016 did not figure on Thursday at all, though this came as no surprise as Budgets traditionally have had no impact on the stock market.

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Next week, however, promises to be interesting since funds have an incentive to indulge in a spot of window-dressing before or on March 31, the day which marks the end of the first quarter.

STI stocks in play this week were mainly the banks; oil plays such as Keppel Corp and Sembcorp Marine; Singtel and Thai Beverage. About 65-70 per cent of daily dollar volume was done in index components; meanwhile, the daily average value per unit traded has hovered around S$0.60.

Thursday's turnover was 1.8 billion units worth S$1.2 billion, of which S$806 million or 67 per cent came from the index.