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Singapore shares close higher as STI tracks Dow futures; HK and China closed

THE closure of Hong Kong and China for a public holiday on Thursday brought some relief to a battered Straits Times Index which had fallen 79 points between Monday and Wednesday.

With no China volatility to contend with and because the futures contract on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 70 on Thursday for Wall Street, the STI managed a 28.3 points or one per cent rebound to 2,906.43. Volume however was poor at 1.1 billion units worth S$642 million, about half recent weak averages. Excluding warrants, there were 240 rises versus 143 falls.

The Hong Kong and China markets, whose gyrations have driven global equities lower over the past three weeks, were closed for Victory Day to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Hong Kong will reopen on Friday while China's markets will remain closed.

Brokers described the session as largely forgettable with virtually nothing of note to speak of, pretty much in line with the dozens or so that preceded it over the past few months.

Business done in the 30 STI components was S$410 million. The actives list in the meantime, was heavily populated by low priced issues, 14 of the top 20 were priced below S$0.20.

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