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Singapore shares close higher on Friday as Dow futures jump 140 points


A RISE in oil prices, a bank reserve ratio cut in China and the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday which markets hoped would yield more quantitative easing opened a window of opportunity for traders this week, encouraging them to adopt a "risk on'' stance.

On Friday, the Straits Times Index responded to a 140-point jump in the Dow futures by gaining 19.74 points at 2,828.86, reducing its loss for the week to just nine points.

However, turnover over the five days dropped steadily, from S$1.5 billion on Monday to 1.8 billion units worth S$919.7 million on Friday. A week ago on Friday, S$1.75 billion was done, so the drop over the week has been about 47 per cent.

Not surprisingly, offshore and marine (O&M) stocks were the main plays, led by Ezra, Ezion, Keppel, Technics Oil & Gas and Sembcorp Marine.

In Keppel's case, the stock came under pressure on midweek news that an order of jackup rigs to US-listed Transocean would be deferred to 2020, though it did recover most of the lost ground by the end of the week.

Banks underwent a relatively quiet week, possibly since trading energies were diverted to the O&M sector.

Energy counter IEV Holdings, in the meantime, was queried on Thursday by the Singapore Exchange for reasons why its stock had jumped S$0.05 or 78 per cent on Thursday to S$0.114. The company replied that it could not account for the sudden interest. On Friday, the stock slumped S$0.017 or 15 per cent to S$0.097 on volume of 71 million.

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