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Singapore shares shed earlier gains to close lower

SINGAPORE shares ended lower on Thursday, following the drop in US markets overnight.

The Straits Times Index (STI) ended at 3,488.46, down 27.77 points, or 0.79 per cent. About 1.8 billion shares, worth S$1.7 billion, changed hands. There were 121 gainers to 331 losers.

Sembcorp Marine took a huge beating, following its release of S$33.8 million losses for the fourth quarter 2017, compared to a net profit of S$34.3 million a year ago. For FY17, earnings came in at $14.1 million, plunging 82.1 per cent from S$78.8 million in FY16. The stock ended at S$2.33, down 30 Singapore cents, or 11.40 per cent, on more than 52 million shares traded.

Low Pei Han, analyst at OCBC, said that all eyes would be on parent Sembcorp Industries when it announces results on Friday morning as the market looks for an update on the group's ongoing strategic review.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 24,797.78, down 166.97 points, or 0.67 per cent, erasing sharp gains after interest rates reached fresh multi-year highs following the release of the latest Federal Reserve minutes.