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Singapore shares finish week lower weighed by bank losses


THE main driving forces this week have been Wall Street and movements in the three local banks.

For Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 22,000 for the first time on Wednesday and added to its gains on Thursday, its seventh consecutive all-time high that came despite news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is convening a grand jury in his investigation into Russia's involvement in the US election.

With the VIX Index that measures the options market's expectations of future volatility hovering at extremely low levels, Wall Street's relentless push to new highs has given investors confidence to buy and keep buying, notwithstanding the reality that central banks everywhere appear ready to start normalising interest rates through gradual increases.

Here, banks have once again been the main drivers of the Straits Times Index, in particular DBS and OCBC. On Friday, weakness in all three meant the index nursed a 16.4 point loss at 3,326.52, a fall that meant the STI dropped about four points for the week. Turnover on Friday was 1.8 billion units worth S$1.3 billion and excluding warrants there were 215 gains versus 243 falls.

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