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Singapore shares close weaker ahead of Friday's US jobs report

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THE Straits Times Index (STI) on Thursday initially rebounded from three straight days of falls by gaining as much as 12 points, though the thin volume didn't lend much confidence to the bounce's sustainability. As it turned out, even a 50-point rise in the Dow futures was unable to keep the STI's upward momentum going and the index by 5pm had drifted to a net loss of 4.12 points at 2,816.47 on the day.

Turnover has been below average for several weeks now and remained poor at 987 million units worth S$851.3 million, of which S$582 million or 68 per cent was done in the 30 STI components. Excluding warrants there were 154 rises versus 218 falls throughout.

Much of the caution evident in trading was said to be because of Friday's release in the US of the August jobs report, which if it is stronger than expected, would increase the likelihood of an interest rate hike soon.

The average value per unit traded was S$0.86 and of the top 20 most actively traded stocks, 15 were priced below S$0.20. A firm day for Hong Kong stocks meant that the eight most actively traded structured warrants were on the Hang Seng Index.

Other than concerns of a US rate hike as well as earnings worries, brokers were unable to offer any fresh insights into what might be influencing sentiment.

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"The market has been in a catatonic state for a long time now," said a dealer. "It's had to deal with so many hits - the penny stock crash, Grexit, Brexit, collapsing oil, China's volatility and US rates."

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