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Singapore shares close down, bank sell-off drags STI marginally into red for year

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THE Straits Times Index (STI) on Thursday slipped marginally into the red for 2016 when it lost points at 2,882.04 in response to a 0.8 per cent loss in Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and a 25-point drop in the Dow futures.

Turnover at 1.3 billion units worth S$758 million was the lowest in at least a month, though it was not unexpected given the upcoming holidays. Excluding warrants, there were 141 rises versus 276 falls.

Throughout the year, the STI has struggled to stay above 2,882.73, the level at which it ended 2015. On the three or four previous occasions when it managed to rise above this level, the stay there did not last long. This time round, the index rose above 2,882 on Nov 30 so it spent three weeks in the black for the year.

On Thursday, history repeated itself when the selling of mainly bank shares dragged the STI down to an intraday low of 2,874 before a late bounce cut its loss to just 0.69 of a point for 2016 so far.

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