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Singapore shares close lower in anticipation of pressure on Wall Street


AFTER gaining 169 points or about 6 per cent between Monday and Wednesday, the Straits Times Index (STI) on Thursday fell 14.78 points to 2,947.03 as it spent the day tracking the Dow futures, the latter dropping as much as 130 points at one stage.

Expectations of a weak Thursday for Wall Street were most likely because the US earnings season that starts on Thursday is expected to be disappointing. Also, the US Federal Reserve will on Thursday release the minutes of its Open Markets Committee meeting last month at which it surprised the market by not raising interest rates.

Dollar turnover continued to be largely done in the 30 STI members - of the 1.4 billion units worth S$1.2 billion traded by the entire market, S$897 million or 74 per cent was done in index stocks. Excluding warrants there were 159 rises versus 245 falls.

Banks were mixed with OCBC and DBS weakening and UOB rising. Commodities stock Wilmar International, which enjoyed a large bounce in recent sessions, saw its recovery nipped in the bud when it dropped S$0.07 to S$2.82 on turnover of 9.9 million.

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In the second line, shares of Starburst, an engineering solutions provider for firearms training facilities jumped S$0.04 or 16.7 per cent at S$0.28 on volume of 2.9 million. OCBC Investment Research said that with the rising threat of terrorism globally, though more evidently in the Middle East, Starburst is expected to benefit from the anticipated increase in defence spending over the next few years.