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Singapore shares close weaker on US rate fears

25178423.13 (37653108) - 05_03_2016 - pixmoney.jpg

THE Straits Times Index on Tuesday drifted 16.7 points down to 2,750.23 as the entire market recorded volume of just 966.2 million units worth S$726.7 million, one of the weakest one-day totals this year. The loss here came despite a late afternoon rebound in Hong Kong that pushed the Hang Seng Index into the black and a 40-point rise in the Dow futures.

Various reasons were suggested to account for the weakness, among them comments by US Federal Reserve officials on Monday on interest rates - San Franscisco's non-voting president John Williams reiterated his view that the Fed will likely raise rates 2-3 times in 2016, followed by another 3-4 in 2017, while St Louis president James Bullard said a relatively tight US labour market may put upward pressure on inflation, raising the case for higher interest rates.

The federal funds futures market's implied probability of the Fed raising rates next month on Monday stood at 32 per cent, up from 28 per cent on Friday.

Here, prices sank together with volume - excluding warrants, there were 120 rises versus 235 falls throughout the whole market. The most active counter was a Macquarie-issued call warrant on the Hang Seng Index that expires on June 29 with a strike price of 20,200 that closed unchanged at S$0.074 on volume of 105.2 million. The underlying index closed at 19,830.

The most active stock was Cedar Strategic, which dropped S$0.001 to S$0.003 on turnover of 77.5 million. Among blue chips, all three banks weakened, as did Singtel and Sembcorp Marine.

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