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Singapore shares close lower on continued worries over China slowdown, US rates


THERE were four trading days in this holiday-shortened week, three of which ended with the Straits Times Index in the red. The single rise was on Monday when the gain was a paltry 2 points, not enough to compensate for falls on the other days. On Friday, the STI dropped 13.10 points to 2,832.64, bringing its nett loss for the week to 47 points or 1.6 per cent.

Daily turnover has picked up in recent sessions - on Friday, 1.4 billion units worth S$1.2 billion was done, above the uninspiring S$1 billion mark that has become the market's daily norm this year.

Friday's business was boosted by relatively heavy trading of blue chips - Singtel, which dropped S$0.06 to S$3.64 on volume of S$45.3 million, and Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), which rose S$0.035 to S$1 with 24.3 million done.

NOL had been queried by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Tuesday because of unusual volume in its shares. After NOL replied that it did not know of reasons for the volume, SGX issued a "Trade with Caution" on NOL.

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The week also saw three new stocks enter the STI - Yangzijiang, SATS and UOL, which replaced Olam International, Jardine Matheson and Jardine Strategic on grounds of liquidity.

By now, readers would be all-too familiar with the reasons why the STI spent the week around a 5-year low - a slowing China with its slowly imploding stock market that has prompted a withdrawal of capital out of emerging Asia, and US interest rate concerns.