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Singapore stocks close weaker as STI tracks Dow futures

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THE closure of Hong Kong for the Dragon Boat Festival on Thursday meant traders here were solely reliant on the Dow futures for direction. A fall in the latter meant the Straits Times Index lost 18.58 points at 2,843.80.

Turnover dropped to 1.04 billion units worth S$913 million of which S$646 million or 71 per cent was done in the 30 STI components. Excluding warrants, there were 169 rises versus 213 falls in the whole market.

The STI had risen for five straight sessions before Thursday, gaining about 72 points. A correction was therefore not surprising, according to traders.

Structured warrants on the Hang Seng Index have frequently been the market's most actively traded counters but this was not the case on Thursday because of Hong Kong's closure. Energy counter AusGroup took top spot in the actives list when it gained S$0.006 at S$0.081 on volume of 95.4 million.

Several other oil and shipping stocks were also active, among them Loyz Energy, Mermaid Maritime and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding.

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In the commodities sector, shares of palm oil firm Wilmar International ended S$0.01 lower at S$3.40 on volume of 5.7 million. Macquarie Warrants in its daily newsletter said as crude oil continues to enjoy a rebound from its lows, crude palm oil (CPO) prices have also seen a resurgence.

"Following that, CPO plays such as Wilmar have climbed 5.9 per cent in the last three weeks (compared to the STI's 4.6 per cent gain over the same period)," said MW. It said that Macquarie Equities Research's top pick in the sector is First Resources whilst it is "neutral" on Wilmar with 12-month target price of S$3.40.

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